NFLs New Rule to Reduce Kickoff Returns Backfired in the Preseason

NFLs New Rule to Reduce Kickoff Returns Backfired in the Preseason

NFLs efforts to reduce the number of kickoff returns were unsuccessful. Their efforts and attempts did not produce any promising results. The number of kickoffs resulting in touchbacks reduced slightly during the preseason, unlike last year. Unexpectedly, that happened even after this new rule of putting the football at the 25-yard line following a kickoff or a touchback was implemented. The previous rule was 20-yard line. 25-yard line is a modification in an attempt/effort designed to encourage returners to remain in the end zone. From March, NFL approve and implement 25-yard line touchback rule for all kickoffs. Should this affect NFL odds of a game, we will have to wait to see the affects.

Different coaches have sternly warned that the new rule may lead to a greater portion of kickoffs being returned as kicking teams/players change their attacking tactics. The NFL is patiently taking a wait-and-see-approach to this controversial issue.

“Pre-season kick return numbers do not reflect or translate to regular season whatsoever,” Dean Blandino, the vice president, said in a video sent to media members. Coaches are evaluating teams. They want to see their kick return player team. Expect to see more returns in the pre-season than you will see during the regular NFL season.

According to NFLs record, 42.2% of kick offs resulted in touchbacks during NFLs preseason. This decreased from 43.4% in the NFLs preseason last year, before the new rules were approved and implemented. The figure was 37.5% in 2014 and 45% in 2013.

There have been some negotiations about taking the kickoff out of the game due to injury risks and complaints by the players. The NFLs decision so far has been to modify rules and make them safer. They have been trying to reduce the rate of kickoffs returned.

This measure was approved on a one year trial basis, giving the rule makers a chance and an opportunity to evaluate the events of this season. There were some officials/rule makers who were objective to the proposals during the off-season. “I think you are seeing some directional kicking” NEP coach Bill Belichick said at a news conference this week. 

But all the same, I don’t actually think we are going to see how this is going to work out until the start of the game next weekend. I think all teams are exercising and doing things to get ready. But they are not doing some of the things they are supposed to do when the regular season starts. So we’ll just have to see.” NFL will wait until the regular season which is expected to start next week to begin to make any conclusion, according to Blandino.

Numbers are more or less the same, Blandino said in an officiating video. Of course, we have not seen an increase in kick returns at least in the pre-season. More kicks and more balls are being kicked and returned from the field of play respectively. We should get patient and see what happens during the forthcoming regular season. Of course, we can’t look at just one week. We will have to look at about four weeks. This will give a clear picture of how rule changing is working. 

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