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The future of kickoffs

Posted by Darren Urban on May 22, 2018 – 8:11 am

One of the things on the owners’ agenda during their current meeting in Atlanta are — again — tweaks to the kickoffs. The idea, of course, is to try and make the play a little safer, given that the rate of concussions on kickoffs remains considerably higher than any other part of the game. Most of the changes won’t be in-your-face. The wedge, which was already pared down from a handful of players once upon a time to just two, will likely be eliminated entirely (meaning only one-on-one blocks.) That’d be a win for the coverage team. Eight of the 11 return men would also have to be within 15 yards of the ball, creating a big hole beyond those players. More chances for mortar onsides kicks, perhaps?

On the other side, the kickoff team will no longer be able to get a running head start, which is a significant difference. They also must balance with five players on each side of the tee — so it’s a little easier to line up blockers.

The kickoff is a play that will constantly be evolving in the name of safety. There is no guarantee it won’t be eliminated for that reason somewhere down the road. That would bring a bunch of new questions — without kickoffs, rosters would most certainly be constructed somewhat differently. But for now, there will be more change, and then more evaluation.

 


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