As they had been expected to do for a while now, NFL owners have approved changes to the kickoff rule. The biggest adjustments are that wedge blocking and the 5-yard running start by the kickoff team have been eliminated.
Here is what kickoffs will now look like.
Following today’s vote at the @NFL Spring League Meetings, here’s everything you need to know about the new kickoff rules for the upcoming 2018 season. The rule will be reevaluated next offseason. pic.twitter.com/YubLyMBR4g— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) May 22, 2018
NFL.com summarized the kickoff rule changes this way:
1. Players on the kicking team cannot line up more than one yard from the point of the kickoff. The previous rule allowed players to line up five yards from the restraining line (typically 35-yard line), allowing them to have more of a running start before the kick.
2. The wedge block has been eliminated. Only players who line up in the setup zone (between their own 40 and opponents’ 45-yard line) can put together double-team blocks.
3. Until the ball is touched or hits the ground, no player on the receiving team may cross the restraining line (typically its 45) or initiate a block. This forces blockers on the receiving team to run back and block, which greatly decreases the chance of an “attack” block that can result in a high-speed collision.
4. When the ball hits the end zone, it’s immediately ruled a touchback. There is no need for a player to down the ball in the end zone to initiate a touchback.
All I know for sure is that I hope this works. The kickoff return can be one of the game’s most exciting and game-changing plays. I don’t want to see it go away.
Your thoughts on the changes, Giants fans?