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  1. #1
    Flippin' Ram's Avatar
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    NFL moves kickoffs to 35-yard line

    By Jason La Canfora NFL Network
    NFL Network Insider
    Published: March 22, 2011 at 01:23 p.m. Updated: March 22, 2011 at 09:31 p.m.

    NEW ORLEANS -- NFL kickoffs will take place at the 35-yard line -- not the 30 -- under a modified proposal passed by team owners Tuesday at the league's annual meeting.

    However, touchbacks will remain at the 20, and teams still will be allowed to use the two-man blocking wedge.

    The league's competition committee originally proposed moving touchbacks up to the 25, eliminating the blocking wedge and limiting coverage players from long run-ups. The league reduced the number of players allowed in a blocking wedge to two in 2009.

    Several coaches expressed concern about making too many changes to kickoffs, also saying bringing touchbacks out 5 more yards would affect field position too much. Coaches worried about an increase in touchbacks from the 16 percent of last season.

    "Any time there's a touchback and now it's not coming to the 20," New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said, "I think that that probably was the most drastic of the four or five items that constituted one rule."

    Making kickoffs safer was the objective, and Payton believes the owners met it, voting 26-6 for the new rule.

    "The bottom line is it's ... the highest risk of injury play," he said.

    Competition committee chairman Rich McKay said coaches were concerned about an increase in high kicks from the 35 intended to trap returning teams deep and severely decreasing the number of returns. He also said the two-man wedge wasn't a driving force in the uptick in injuries on kickoffs. Indeed, more injuries occur in coverage than on the return squads.

    As for the six no votes, McKay said: "The objections were, 'Hey, you're affecting my team.' Clearly, some teams have good kick returners and they said, 'What if there's 10 percent less returns?'

    "We have no answer," McKay added, "but player safety will always trump any other consideration."

    Yet the two player-safety amendments were tabled until the May league meetings. A proposal to outlaw players launching to make hits was deferred, as was expanding the definition of a defenseless receiver.

    McKay said joining those two additions to a previous rule caused the tabling. Each of the proposals will be made into separate amendments before being presented again.

    "We didn't feel like there was enough support to get it passed," said New York Giants owner John Mara, a competition committee member. "A number of people seemed to be, in my opinion, more concerned about flags being thrown for questionable hits. My feeling is, I'm more concerned about needless concussions, so I'm willing to make that trade. But I think we need to go back and just clarify some of the language, maybe to make it a little bit more clear for everybody."

    McKay praised players for avoiding launching themselves during the second part of last season after the league threatened suspensions for illegal and flagrant hits. No suspensions were handed out, but Ray Anderson, the NFL's chief disciplinarian, said they will be in play from the outset of next season.

    A proposal to allow the replay official to review all scoring plays at any time during games passed 30-2, but coaches still can receive a third challenge if they win the first two.

    The replay official now can call for the referee to review any scoring play. Previously, replay officials only could order reviews (on any play) in the final two minutes of each half and in overtime.

    Coaches pushed for the change in great part because they believed they didn't get a fair shake in road games.

    "It's a real big competitive disadvantage," Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "You don't get that look at it on the road that you get at home; they just don't show it."

    One proposal was adopted unanimously, giving the commissioner the power to approve or deny requests to change the color of the playing field from green. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said the concern was that sponsors could approach teams and suggest a deal that involved altering a field's color.

    As McKay previously noted with a smile, "We don't want any red fields like at Eastern Washington."
    This doesn't really bother me seeing that it doesn't change the punting zones, though I was looking forward to Amendola increasing his chances of garnering long returns like the one against the Whiners and it looks like it'll be proportionally cut because of this.

  2. #2
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    Re: NFL moves kickoffs to 35-yard line

    I was there when Danny did that. The roof came off the stadium and it wasnt even a td. I dont remember any kick off or punt returns to td's in years. If anyone else can remember go ahead and correct me I could be wrong. But I think this helps us cause we have brown or donnie that can get touchbacks I think kicking from the 35.

  3. #3
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    Re: NFL moves kickoffs to 35-yard line

    Can't say I'm thrilled. Reducing the chances of big plays and increasing the number of touchbacks isn't going to make the games more fun.

  4. #4
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    Re: NFL moves kickoffs to 35-yard line

    Same here, can't say I'm happy about this, but I'm not too upset either.

    One thing that REALLY bothered me, is I saw where the NFL was trying to define a "quarterback in the act of throwing" as a defenseless player! Now this was only in the proposal, I don't know if it made it or not, it better not have. It's sad to say, but I really don't doubt that in ten years QBs will either be wearing different colors jerseys so they don't get him, or they will be wearing flags.

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