The NFL Changes Kickoff Rules

The NFL has changed the kickoff rules beginning in the 2024 season. This change has been a long time coming. We've seen the league make small changes over the course of the last decade in the hopes of lessening the hits that come when guys are given a 60 yard running start. With a better understanding of concussions, and the effect they have on players post-career lives, the NFL has made major changes to the kickoff rule. In the before times, the ball was kicked off from the 30 yard line, the teams were 10 yards apart from each other and we saw some massive collisions and a lot of return attempts. They eventually moved the kickoff to the 35 yard line which led to a lot more kickoffs reaching the endzone leading to touchbacks. Even with the balls reaching the endzone, some of these returners want to make some highlight plays leading to more massive collisions. To lessen the chance of these huge collisions the league has made major changes the kickoff rule. It's in place for the 2024 season and if all goes well it will be up for renewal in 2025. Here is a breakdown of when kickoffs are going to look like in the NFL beginning in this season. Kickoff placement The kicker will continue to kickoff from his teams own 35 yard line. Kicking Team Positioning The players on the kicking team are being moved all the way up to the opposing team's 40 yard line. This eliminates the players sprinting 50 yards downfield before colliding with the return team's players. They will now be only 5 yard separated from the receiving team's front line of players. So 10 players on the kicking team are at the 40 yard line. Return Team Positioning Nine of the 11 players on the return team will have to lineup at their own 35 yard line or within 5 yards of that. So between their 35 and 30 yard line. The NFL is calling this the setup zone. Returner Positioning The remaining two players on the return team will be in the normal return position, but now the area from the 20 yard line to the endzone will be called the landing area. Actions once ball is kicked After the ball is kicked the kicker is no longer allowed to cross the 50 yard line. Both the kicking and return team players can't move until the ball hits the ground or a player in the landing zone or endzone. The two returners can obviously move to catch the kickoff. Any ball the lands in the landing zone has to be returned. If a ball hits in the landing zone and goes into the endzone the returners can still down a ball for a touchback. The ball will be placed at the 20 yard line for the offense to begin their drive. If the kicker kicks it into the endzone in the air and it's downed for a touchback the offense will start at the 30 yard line. Here is how the lineup will look from NFL Network's Tom Pelissero: Penalizing the kicking team incentivizes the kicker to put the ball in the landing zone forcing a return tells you the league is really trying to keep kickoff returns in the game. It makes a lot of sense because a long kick return or a return for a touchdown is one of the most exciting plays in the game. We'll see how this trial goes for the 2024 season and if the new look kick is here to stay. A play that is staying in the football... The Tush Push/Brotherly Shove. [select-listicle listicle_id="956888" syndication_name="8-georgia-bulldogs-who-could-be-eagles" description="yes"]

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