Owners to Vote on a Major Rule Change Regarding Kickoffs

The owners are going to vote on a major possible rule change next week when the annual meetings take place in New Orleans, and the change has to do with kickoffs.

The competition committee is recommending that the kickoff be moved up from the 30 to the 35-yard and that defenders can only line up within five yards of the ball. Before, many defenders lined up so they had a 15-yard head start. Since the field is shortened, the other side of the proposal is the touchback is brought out to the 25-yard line instead of the 20.

Rich McKay, chairman of the competition committee, said in a conference call that he expects the number of touchbacks to rise, but not by a significant amount. The change sounds like it is going to hinder teams with good kickoff units, and more drives will start at the 20-yard-line, putting the stress back on the offense to go 80 yards.

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