NFL kickoff rules may change


Former Steeler, Randy Bullock kicks the ball to start a NFL season game.

Brandon Majors, Staff Writer

The kickoff is the iconic way to start every football game throughout the season. The whistle blows and the ball is kicked, while 11 players on one team run down the field as fast as they can to hit the ball carrier. Although the other team has ten out of 11 players trying to stop the other team from tackling their own player, it doesn’t always work. The blockers will get blindsided and get hurt, or the blocker does not do their job well enough to where the ball carrier could get seriously injured.

Rules change constantly to make play safer for the players. There have been 47 rule changes since 2002 in effort to keep the players safer. There are too many injuries occurring nowadays with kickoffs. In a comparison from 2015’s season to 2016’s season, there had been little to no change in injuries. In 2015 there were 20 concussions, 11 hamstring injuries, one ACL injury and three MCL tears. In 2016 there were 17 concussions, 13 hamstring injuries, four ACL tears and five MCL tears.

The National Football League (NFL) is trying to make the kickoff more like a punt now. They are going to put three players back to receive the kickoff as the other eight players start 15 yards from the ball to block the other team from getting down field. The kicking team will no longer be allowed to get a running head start before the ball is kicked. Normally, players are allowed to get a run-up before the ball is kicked as long as they do not pass the the ball. They are allowed to run freely once the ball is kicked. ,However with the new rule, players will not get that running start. Players are not allowed to move off of the line until the ball has been kicked. This is supposed to stop the number of head-on coll

isions that occur from the kicking team running full speed at the stable receiving team.

Inside the 15-yard zone, from the ball to the front line of the receiving team, is a no hitting zone. The league is making the kickoff more like a punt. This will allow players to match the speed of their opponents by having them be able to run with them instead of running at them. The NFL is trying to break down on injuries, but it is not known how much this will really help. This will stop a small amount of injuries but will not eliminate all of them.

This rule that is being talked about and may be set in place will not only affect the professional level, but will indeed affect the college level. As of yet, no one knows if it will affect the high school level of football. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) does not seem to like this rule as of right now, due to the way fans are reacting. If this rule is accepted and is set in place by the National Football League then it will start next football season.