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NFL Won’t Eliminate Kickoffs, But Major Changes Could Be Coming

NFL kickoffs could look drastically different this season.
In an effort to improve the safety of what’s been called the most dangerous play in football, the NFL held a summit of special teams minds Wednesday in New York to discuss ways of tweaking kickoffs without eliminating them entirely.
The committee, which included nearly a third of the league’s current special teams coaches, among others, settled on the following proposal, which will be voted on by NFL owners May 21 to 23.
— There would be no pre-kick motion.
In essence, the proposal would make kickoffs more like punts, limiting the number of head-on collisions between opposing players.
“With the old rule, you had guys running at each other,” Kansas City Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub told Seifert.
The distance between the front line and the kickoff return team is so tight that when they run down the field, it’s a lot like a punt.
You’re pushing people on the side and you don’t have those big collisions.
The injury rate on kickoffs is five times higher than on an average play, according to the NFL’s research.
Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge was among those present at the summit, per ESPN.

New York Jets kicker Chandler Catanzaro
Photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images

NFL kickoffs could look drastically different this season.

In an effort to improve the safety of what’s been called the most dangerous play in football, the NFL held a summit of special teams minds Wednesday in New York to discuss ways of tweaking kickoffs without eliminating them entirely.

The committee, which included nearly a third of the league’s current special teams coaches, among others, settled on the following proposal, which will be voted on by NFL owners May 21 to 23.

Via ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert:

— Coverage teams would lose the 5-yard head start they previously had.

— Five players would need to be aligned on each side of the kicker.

— All wedge blocks, including two-man double teams, would be eliminated.

— Eight of the 11 return team members would be lined up within 15 yards of the restraining…

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