The NFL kickoff rules are finally changed! Kickoffs, which occur about 10 times during each NFL game, have been a concern because they often lead to injuries. While changes made in recent years aimed to make kickoffs safer, they also made them less interesting to watch.

However, now NFL team owners have voted to make kickoffs safer while also keeping them excited. This change is meant to strike a balance between reducing injuries and keeping the game fun to watch. Many NFL owners and team coaches have approved the new rules, calling it great. Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell too expressed his excitement in a recent interview.

Dan Campbell thinks it is a pretty good balance!


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In this week’s episode of Twentyman in the Huddle, on Detroit Lions’ YouTube channel, host Tim Twentyman took the show to Orlando to talk to head coach Dan Campbell. Campbell was asked about his views on the newly changed rules of the kickoffs, and he expressed his strong support for it. Campbell highlighted, “I think that this new kickoff rule is something that I feel pretty strongly about. I hope this goes through, because we completely took kickoff and kickoff return out of the league like it was a non-play.”

He continued, “And I do think that man there’s enough players in this world, in this league, and coaches and that special teams that they made their way, that I think we owe it to them, to get a play back in, and we can still make it. We can make it a good play and so I think the proposal is good, I think it’s a pretty good balance of things, and I would love to get it back in. I think special teams is a part of this game and I would hate to lose it.”

Under the new rules for kickoffs, the kicker will still kick from the 35-yard line, but the rest of their team will line up closer to the opposing team’s territory, at the 40-yard line. This eliminates the usual running start for the kicking team. On the other side, the returning team can have up to two players ready to catch the ball, while the rest of their teams line up in a designated area between the 30- and 35-yard lines.

Once the ball is kicked, no player can move until the returner catches the ball or it hits the ground. Additionally, players can’t call for a fair catch anymore, meaning they have to try to return the ball if they catch it. That indeed sounds interesting!

Read more: “It Comes Back To Bite You”: Tom Brady Fires Blunt Critique at Dan Campbell’s Lions after Disappointing End to the Season

Besides Campbell, like-minded people from the NFL community like the Saints special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi and Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, too, expressed their thoughts on new rules.


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How many votes helped approve the new rules?

Any proposal requires 24 of the 32 owners to approve it. These new kickoff rules were approved by a vote of 29-3 on Tuesday. The Saints special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi, worked closely on the proposal, and sharing his thoughts on it, he expressed, “We feel this is a great day for the NFL. We’ve taken a play that’s essentially been dying over the course of the last few years, in our opinion, and we revived it.” Besides him, Andy Reid, too, was asked the same question. To which he replied, “I’m all for it. You have 2,000 dead plays. Nobody wants to see that. It’ll add excitement and newness.


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Meanwhile, this new rule will be a boon for special teams, as it provides one big change the teams can’t do surprise onside kicks anymore. These kicks are when a team tries to kick the ball to one of their own players instead of the other team. They’re usually tried when a team is desperate at the end zone of a game.

Sometimes teams would surprise their opponents by doing this earlier in the game, but now they have to announce in advance. This change means special teams players, who usually haven’t earned full-time spots on offense or defense, will become even more important. For these players, being on special teams is their chance to show they belong on an NFL team.