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Rule Changes

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The Mangler US_UK
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Post by Pr4wn Thu 24 Mar 2011, 10:12 am

So the main changes that came out of this week's owners' meeting was that kickoffs were to move to the 35 yard line, but touchbacks were to remain at the 20.

In my opinion, this is bad for the game. I watched a lot of football last season and far more players were concussed or injured during normal play than on kickoffs. Also, this will almost completely remove players like Devin Hester and Josh Cribbs from the game. Special Teams are these guys' specialities, it's what they do. Now, most kickers in the league are able to get touchbacks on almost every kick, and the long kickoff return for a touchdown will soon be a thing of the past.

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Post by Cheesehead United Thu 24 Mar 2011, 11:12 am

If the ball is caught in the endzone, isn't it the choice of the receiver to take the touchback, or make a run? Would you then suggest the touchback gets moved to the 25 or 30 yard line to dis-courage kickers to put it in the endzone. If that happened, would it then increase the chances of the receiver to call a 'fair catch'?

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Post by Cheesehead United Thu 24 Mar 2011, 11:20 am

Sorry, 'fair catches' are more punt returns aren't they. Doh

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Post by Gaelic-Warrior Thu 24 Mar 2011, 11:28 am

It's really annoying when sports like this and rugby constantly muck around with the rules. There's nothing wrong with the KO the way it is. In fact I don't remember any serious injuries on KOs from the games I saw last season. Why can't they just leave some things alone!
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Post by Cheesehead United Thu 24 Mar 2011, 11:33 am

I agree. I understand them trying to improve player safety, but it is a contact sport.

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Post by Pr4wn Thu 24 Mar 2011, 11:43 am

Also, from a supporters' perspective, the kickoffs are extremely exciting! I'd really hate to see them reduced to being a rarity.

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Post by Cheesehead United Thu 24 Mar 2011, 11:53 am

I suppose a positive point from a Packers view, it will help us deal with kick off's. Last year our special teams were rubbish. The most embarrasing thing last year was the New England player setting a record returning a kick off to the 4 yard line.

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Post by skins4ever Thu 24 Mar 2011, 4:35 pm

KO's used to be from the 35, then they moved them back due to the high number of touch backs. They are essentially undoing a rule change, rather than making a new change.

It actually makes it more interesting. Does your team consider a great KR as a worthwhile asset or do you just stick an average returner back there and hope you start on your 20 most of the time?

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Post by uberfunction Fri 25 Mar 2011, 2:44 pm

Cheesehead United wrote:Sorry, 'fair catches' are more punt returns aren't they. Doh

Actually, you can still call a fair catch on a kickoff, I think I have seen it done once.

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Post by uberfunction Fri 25 Mar 2011, 2:47 pm

I think the rules the NFL needs to modify is pass coverage I think there are way too many pass interference calls in the NFL. (especially in the past few years) And the rules to take down a QB need to be modified back to the rules from 10 years ago. Because of Carson Palmer and Tom Brady, the way to tackle a QB has been more difficult.

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Post by The Mangler US_UK Fri 25 Mar 2011, 5:39 pm

I wonder if they'll still be running it out as much because the other change was the coverage guys can't get a 15 yard run up -- they can only line up five yards behind the ball. Don't know if it'll change things. But yes, I was happy when they originally moved kickoffs back because there used to be too many touchbacks -- not happy they're moving it up again.

The other big change is that all scoring plays are now reviewable, not just in the last two minutes.

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Post by Cheesehead United Sat 26 Mar 2011, 2:06 pm

That would be a fair system though. I remember last year when the Packers scored a TD after the Cowboys receiver fumbled the ball, after he had been tackled which should not have counted.

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Post by Grizzly Sat 26 Mar 2011, 7:16 pm

Yeah I'm not a fan of the kick off change though I have to say that when I started watching the game kick offs were from the 35.
There are teams who have invested in specialist kick returners and this will hurt them, Josh Cribbs springs to mind.
That said if it does reduce injury then it can't be a bad thing

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Post by Derbyblue Sun 27 Mar 2011, 2:17 pm

Last season 16.4% of all kickoffs (2,539) went for touchbacks (416). According to Rick McKay chairman of the competition committee the new rule will increase touchbacks by 5-15%, Bill Belichick says it will increase touchbacks to between 25-35%. If we say there will be 2,500 kickoffs next season and we use Bill Belichick's highest number of 35% there will be 875 touchbacks next season, yes that seems like a lot, but that still leaves 1,625 kick returns. Last Season the average kick off landed at the 5.5 yard line so this season they will be landing close to the goal line.

The other rule change is the players on kick off coverage can only get a 5 yard run up, which according to Seahawks special teamer Michael Robinson will make front line blocking easier, this should result in better field position. Those teams where the kicker can make it reach the end zone will have out kicked their coverage, leaving returners with a wide open field to start running into. So the elite returners who can make a play from 5 yards in the end zone will still be elite.

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Post by Grizzly Sun 27 Mar 2011, 2:53 pm

Derby - yeah I saw those stats, but IMO touchbacks are stadium dependent.
In Domes the ball flies through the air, I haven't seen any stats relating to touchback percentage in domes but I would guess it is high, tacking on another 5 yards will result in every kick off being a touchback.
Outdoors (particularly in cold weather) kicks are shorter because the footing for the kicker is worse and the elements affect ball trajectory.
Also, the 'average' kick off landing on the 5.5 yard line includes attempted onside kicks which distorts the average.
As I say, I'm not a huge fan of the change as the kick off will be become a virtually nothing play as opposed to the exciting play that it has become in recent years, but if safety is improved then it's difficult to criticise

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Post by WhiteCamry Mon 28 Mar 2011, 6:53 pm

In Canada a kicked ball not returned out of the end zone is a "single" ("rouge" in French.) The receiving team gets the ball at the 35 but the kicking team gets 1 point.

In short, touchbacks aren't free in Canada. thumbsup

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Post by GSC Mon 28 Mar 2011, 7:13 pm

If this rule had been implemented in the 2010 season, the Bucs probably beat the Falcons without the Weems return and make the playoffs.

As a fan of a team that hasnt had a kick run back for a TD in years (seemingly) I'm not that bothered. It also kills the Bears offense.
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Post by Derbyblue Tue 29 Mar 2011, 2:10 am

Grizzly - I hadn't even considered in the difference in domes and how much it could help those teams, I won't say favour because all teams voted on it and the main idea is player safety which makes it hard to criticise, however I think different steps could have been taken to improve player safety. Just imposing the only 5 yard run up rule but kickoffs being taken from the same spot would probably have had the same affect, but then this may have helped those teams with the elite returners too much. I'm not a big fan of the rule changes, I was trying to give some stats which I hoped would lead to some debate or at least other peoples inputs.

The problem with getting a point for getting a touch back is those teams with very stingy defences may opt to always get the extra points believing they are likely to leave their opponents only getting field goals. Also having the touchback's placed at the 35 would mean that those teams without elite returners would be more than happy to start from the 35.

I'm wondering if the fact that less attention will probably be spent on special team training whether this will result in an increase in for example Cribbs' production as a WR.

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