Likely NFL kickoff rule tweaks revealed, to be evaluated year-to-year

By Jesse Reed
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the NFL’s Competition Committee met to discuss potential rule changes that would make kickoffs safer for players. Judy Battista of NFL.com shared her takeaways from that meeting, along with other key information that relates to the likely changes that will occur.

She wrote that the NFL will likely eliminate the 2-man wedge, no running start for the kicking team and that only three players will be allowed deep. She also shared that Rich McKay, chair of the Competition Committee, “believes strongly these rules, in combo with the new rule about lowering helmet to initiate contact (more on that here), will reduce concussions on kickoff, by far the most dangerous play in the game.”

Additionally, Battista shared that Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy believes these rules will be looked at every season and that he said there is a “short leash” to see if these new rules reduce injuries before considering eliminating the kickoff entirely.

The idea that the kickoff could be eliminated has been thrown around for a while now. That said, if these new rule tweaks do cut down on injuries, it stands to reason the NFL will not go that route. Kickoff returns are some of the more exciting plays the NFL has to offer, and the new rules could potentially open up more opportunities for return specialists to wreak havoc in the open field.