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Competition Committee Wants Kickoff Rule Change

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As long as I can remember, during NFL kickoffs, the kicking team has kicked the ball from the 30-yard line and, if there was a touchback, the receiving team started from the opposite 20-yard line. That may change if the NFL competition committee gets it's way.

According to Atlanta Falcons president Rick McKay, who is also chairman of the competition committee, the NFL may be placing the ball at the 35-yard line and allowing touchbacks to come out to the 25-yard line in 2011 and beyond.

In other words, it will be easier for the kicker to boot the ball into the end zone, and there will be greater incentive for the return man to stay in the end zone instead of running it out.

The committee also wants to eliminate all wedges formed by return teams, including the two-man wedge. In fact, the only thing that won't change about kickoffs is what happens if a ball is kicked out of bounds; the ball will still get placed at the 40-yard line.

The reasoning behind the proposed kickoff rule changes is the high injury rate of players during kickoffs.

"The injury rate on kickoffs remains a concern for us," McKay said.

All changes proposed by the competition committee, including the changes to kickoffs, will be voted on by NFL owners at next week's annual meeting.