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NFL competition committee to suggest rule changes in kickoffs

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A proposal should be completed Monday and discussed by the end of the month, modifying kickoff rules

Kickoffs are quickly becoming a hot topic in the NFL with many speculating the play may be eliminated in the distant future. The NFL is trying to negate that from happening, at least for now. The NFL competition committee is working to modify rules to the kickoff in a proposal that Washington Post NFL reporter Mark Maske says should be completed by Monday. The discussion should happen at the end of the month.

What’s going to change? From Maske’s article:

“The proposal being formulated Wednesday bans players on the kicking team from getting a running start on their way downfield. It eliminates all forms of “wedge” blocking, where multiple blockers link together, by the receiving team. It requires eight of the 11 members of the receiving team to line up within 15 yards of the spot of the kickoff and bars hitting within those 15 yards. It keeps players on the kicking team from going in motion pre-kick.”

The reason kickoffs have been a subject of scrutiny have been because of the running start on the open field both teams make. It results in an inevitable collision that increases the rate of concussions. The NFL has taken an active measure in attempting to reduce concussions as of late due to recent CTE research.

The NCAA has made their own changes to the kickoff rule, allowing a fair catch within the 25-yard line to result in a touchback. Between this and both the NFL and NCAA moving the kickoff line further forward, they are trying their best to encourage the ball carrier to not run the ball at all.

This is less about the ball carrier and more about the war zone the kickoffs create to everyone else.