2011 NFL: How Do the New Kickoff Rules Impact NFL Teams?

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2011 NFL: How Do the New Kickoff Rules Impact NFL Teams?
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

At the NFL Owners Meetings in New Orleans on Tuesday, the owners voted to change the rules regarding kickoffs. The Competition Committee had expressed concern about the safety of players and that too many injuries were occurring on kickoffs.

The NFL Competition Committee, head coaches, the team owners and special teams coaches were all involved in discussions to reach a league-wide consensus. To reach any kind of a consensus and the NFL in the same sentence seems to be a challenge these days.

But, as a result of all the feedback and debating, the NFL agreed to make the following changes. Kickoffs will be moved from the 30-yard line to the 35. If there is a touchback, the ball will come out to the 20 yard line as before.

The returning team will be allowed to keep their two-man wedge. But the defending team will have to start their forward run from the 30, as opposed to 10 yards away from the ball.

The extra five yards apparently allowed for greater speed, greater impact and consequently more injuries.

So how does this change impact the game, and how does it impact specific NFL teams? What about kickoff strategies and personnel changes? We will attempt to address all these issues in this article.

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