Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NFL Owners OK New Rule Changes

The NFL owners have passes several new rule changes that will take place whenever we have football again. Out of the five proposals that were voted upon by the owners, four ended up passing, meaning fans will see a slightly different game in 2011 (hopefully).

The first rule passed, and the most significant change, was moving the kickoff spot to the 35 yard line. This was done largely as a safety measure, however it has drawn a strong opposition from some of the NFL's most dangerous return men. While I understand the NFL is trying to improve safety, this new rule almost eliminates big returns, some of the most thrilling and game changing opportunities in the sport. Strong-legged kickers will be able to boot touchbacks with ease. The NFL also debated moving the starting position after a touchback to the 25 yard line, however this failed to pass.

The other major rule change is instant replay - now the booth official will have to confirm all scoring plays and will review other plays as well. This is similar to college's instant replay system, and allows coaches of visiting teams a more level playing ground (replays that would benefit opposing teams are usually not shown during games in the stadium).

So in the end, the NFL got the replay rule correct, but failed in its attempt to better player safety. The league needs to find ways to keep its players safe without dramatically altering the game, which is what it is doing with the new kickoff rules.

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