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Automatic ejection, new touchback rule pass for one year

NFL owners have made some temporary changes to rules, which could become permanent a year from now. For the 2016 season, two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties will result in an ejection, and a touchback on a kickoff will result in the offense starting at the 25-yard line, instead of the 20-yard line.

The automatic ejection rule would not have actually had a huge impact last year. I believe two people total would have been ejected under the rule. There was discussion about Odell Beckham Jr. repeatedly going after Josh Norman, but this new rule would not have applied because OBJ was flagged for unnecessary roughness, not unsportsmanlike conduct.

Chip Kelly does not think it is an especially useful rule change.

The new touchback rule pushes kick returners further and further out of a job. Given the safety concerns that have been discussed, this is not at all surprising. In reality, safety concerns apply on every single play, not just returns, but the owners can pass some window dressing when it comes to safety. This will be something special teams coaches will get to spend all offseason drilling into the head of players.