“NFL owners meeting in New Orleans voted in favor of modified changes to the pro game’s kickoff Tuesday, the most noticable of three approved rule changes this year.
Henceforth, the kickoff spot will return to the 35-yard line, where it was before the league moved it to the 30-yard line, and kicking team players can line up no deeper than 5 yards behind the kickoff spot.
But the league scrapped that part of the proposal that would have moved the possession spot on a touchback from the 20 to the 25-yard line. That change mollified coaches who were both uncomfortable with an alteration to such a tried and true spot in the game.
In other changes, all scoring plays are automatically open to review by replay officials. However, coaches will not lose their third challenge, as initially proposed in the expanded replay repertoire.
Finally, the league voted that fields must be green. That proposal had not been flouted by the league before the owners meeting, but was approved to keep the appearance of game’s uniform, the NFL said. In other words, there will be no Boise State fields in the NFL.”
Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith had this to say about the kickoff rule changes:
“We would work as hard as we could to try to make it safer, but to eliminate that to me is just kind of tearing up the fiber of the game a little bit. Yeah, we have a great returner. But that’s a big part of the game. Our fans are probably more interested in coming there to see Devin Hester running a ball back as opposed to seeing a kicker kick it out of the end zone with no action.”
Chicago Bears special teams coach Dave Toub had this to say:
“It’s going to help teams that aren’t real good at kickoff coverage,” Toub said. “They’re going to be able to kick more touchbacks. Touchbacks are a good option for them or for anybody playing us. That’s a win for them.”
This only hurts the Bears. To move the kickoff spot back to the 35-yard line is ludicrous. The amount of touch-backs will likely double and this will hurt the Bears starting field position. Devin Hester and Danieal Manning will have to return kick-offs out of the end-zone from now on.
The Bears are not the only team that is going to be upset about this. The Bears will find a way to overcome this new rule, their coaches are very good and they will get through this.
all quotes from SI.com
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