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The NFL’s new sophisticated kickoff guidelines, the place touchbacks are kinda dangerous, defined

Kickoffs in the NFL are going to look very different in 2024. And maybe beyond. League owners approved a rule change that will massively change the kick that starts every game and follows every scoring play. This reform, slated for a one-year pilot program next fall, would add several new wrinkles to free kicks, ideally allowing

The NFL’s new sophisticated kickoff guidelines, the place touchbacks are kinda dangerous, defined

Kickoffs within the NFL are going to look very totally different in 2024. And possibly past.

League house owners permitted a rule change that can massively change the kick that begins each recreation and follows each scoring play. This reform, slated for a one-year pilot program subsequent fall, would add a number of new wrinkles to free kicks, ideally permitting for larger returns whereas rewarding kickers for accuracy. It could additionally, in idea, cut back accidents associated to some of the harmful phases of the sport.

So what’s new? Nicely, the ball will nonetheless be positioned on the kicking group’s 35-yard line, everybody however the kicker will  line up 25 yards upfield on the receiving group’s 40. 5 yards away from them could be the primary line of blocking protection forward of a most of two returners — a line that may’t go deeper than the 30-yard line.

It’s a setup that appears like this.

There’s greater than only a funky formation that leaves much less room for defenders to construct up momentum earlier than crashing into returners. The area from the receiving group’s 20-yard line to the purpose line is the touchdown zone. Nobody from the kicking group can cross the 40 till the ball both lands or is fielded there.

There aren’t any truthful catches. If the ball fails to make it to the touchdown zone, the receiving group takes over at its personal 40-yard line. If the ball flies into the top zone, the receiving group takes over on the 35 — a 10-yard enhance from the earlier touchback spot. If the ball hits the touchdown zone on the fly, then rolls into the top zone and is downed, the receiving group takes over at its 20.

However wait, there’s extra! If the wind knocks the ball off the tee twice, a kicker can decide to carry it in place with a kicking stick — the tripod kickers use in follow — somewhat than making a teammate maintain the ball on the tee. Onside kicks are nonetheless allowed, however need to be declared earlier than the kickoff. From there, regular onside kick guidelines would apply (and, in honesty, be very lame and possibly reconsidered after 2024’s proposed trial interval).

To deal with the bottom kickoff return fee in @NFL historical past through the 2023 season and concern for participant well being and security, the NFL Competitors Committee has proposed a brand new kickoff rule.

If adopted by NFL golf equipment, the brand new rule will preserve the thrill of kickoff returns within the…

— NFL Soccer Operations (@NFLFootballOps) March 22, 2024

It is a very seen reform that will probably be the very first thing we discover in relation to this yr’s rule modifications. It gained’t be the final, nevertheless — particularly now that hip-drop tackles have been deemed a 15-yard penalty with some very subjective language attached.

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