Reforming the draft to The Larry David Rule: NFL changes we’d like to see


Kickers’ moments of glory could be coming to an end if Larry David gets his way. Photograph: Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports

The NFL will look radically different next season. The league’s owners voted on Tuesday to approve a new kickoff rule originally adopted in the XFL.

It is one of the most groundbreaking changes in league history. After slowly legislating the kickoff out of the sport, the league is embracing a new ‘hybrid’ approach that turns the kickoff into something approaching a traditional football play. No longer will kickoffs be passing moments, a chance for broadcasters to cram in a couple of commercial breaks.

Under the new rule, 21 of the 22 players on the field will line up on the returner’s side of the field. Only the kicker will be in the kicking team’s territory. The entire rule is convoluted – get ready to learn about ‘landing zones’ and ‘set up zones’. But the upshot is this: more returns, more action, fewer injuries. The rule also scraps fair catches. If the returner catches the ball in the landing zone, they must return it.

Here’s a look at the official kickoff-change rule proposal. Teams could have a maximum of 2 returners. Kicking team can’t move until the ball hits in the landing zone or is fielded there. No more fair catches.

— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) March 20, 2024

There are few things as enjoyable as a returner popping a run. But the NFL has struggled to find a balancing act between maintaining the electric jolt of the return game while minimizing the risk of injuries. Over the past decade, the NFL has reported a three to five times higher concussion rate on kickoffs than typical offense-defense plays, largely due to the distance between the kicking and returning units and the violence of those collisions.

NFL Owners have approved the proposed new kickoff (XFL Style). Maybe we’ll see some returns when it’s implemented.
This is a positive to what they approved yesterday #NFLTwitter…

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Author : The Guardian

Publish date : 2024-03-28 08:00:28

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