The Competition Committee updated the league rules on Tuesday, passing a vote that pushes kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line, while still allowing two-man wedges. The rule, supposedly designed for player safety, will increase the number of touchbacks thus less violent collisions.
Mike Brown recalls when the league originally pushed kickoffs back five yards.
I was on the competition committee in 1994 when they moved it back five yards. Why did we move it back five yards? There were too few returns and too many dead plays. And we wanted a live-action play. It's going to be hard to make me think that was a mistake.
However teams with a good kickoff returner tend to hate the rule. Chicago's Lovie Smith had a slight disagreement with the rule change.
"You just wonder how did we get to this point?" Smith said before the rule passed. "First off, I can't believe we're really talking about it, the most exciting play in football. You would think we would want to keep that in.
"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."
Other changes include a modification to instant replay. All scoring plays will now be reviewed and coaches are allowed to keep their third if their first two replays are correct.