Around the NFL
Hooray, more touchbacks
Posted Mar. 22 at 04:30 AM
Well it's official, the NFL has moved kickoffs from the 30-yard-line to the 35 again next season. They've compounded that adjustment by scrapping the idea of bringing the ball out to the 25-yard-line, rather than the 20, after touchbacks.
In other words, not only will teams find it easier to boot the ball through the end zone on kickoffs, the temptation to boom away will be unchanged. Giving opponents the ball at the 25 might have at least encouraged teams to think about hoping to pin opponents deeper in their own end by sending a returnable kick downfield.
I don't pretend to have the NFL's numbers on safety, which are apparently driving this adjustment. The number of injuries on kickoffs, say teams, are reason enough to have fewer kick returns and more touchbacks.
But what next? Kick returns are and have long been an integral part of the game. If you're trying to reduce those to protect players from getting hurt, should you then reduce the number of blitzes teams can call per game? Should blocking and tackling be further limited? At what point is enough, enough?
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