clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Winners And Losers From NFL Kickoff Rule Changes

As you all know by now, NFL owners announced a rule change that will move the kickoff from the 30 to the 35-yard line. The change was done primarily to avoid injuries as kickoffs are one of the more dangerous parts of the game.

We're not sure exactly how it will affect the game but the number of kickoff returns will likely decrease. This means, in theory. that teams will generally have worse field position on kickoffs.

The winners from this will be the teams that have poor special teams coverage units and those with strong-legged kickers. Those with poor special teams will see the playing field evened slightly as they won't be seeing as many returns which means they can't give up big returns or touchdowns. Those with kickers who have a strong leg will see more touchbacks thus limiting the return potential against them.

The losers from this are the teams will good return men -- teams like the Bears and Jets. Devin Hester is the premier return man in the NFL and his value has decreased, as has the Jets' Brad Smith.

In 1994, the kickoffs moved from the 35 to the 30-yard line which had the percentage of kicks returned go from 68 percent to 88 percent. In 2010, that number was 80 percent. So there will be a somewhat significant decline in returns if history is any indication.