SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The National Football League adopted a handful of rules changes Tuesday at their annual owners’ meeting. Among the most notable: kickoffs will now take place from the 35-yard line and all scoring plays will be subject to a booth review.
In his daily chat with KCBS Radio anchors, John Madden said he believes the changes to kickoffs is safer and won’t significantly impact the game, despite the concern about the new rule increasing touchbacks and decreasing the number of kickoff returns.
“This isn’t anything that drastic,” said Madden. He noted that when kickoffs were made from the 40-yard line there were too many touchbacks. When the kickoffs were moved to the 30, safety became an issue amid reports that more injuries occur on kickoff collisions than on any other play. Moving the kickoffs to the 35 will improve safety, while still allowing for plenty of returns, said Madden. “You have to continue to tweak that (rule) in order to keep injuries down,” said Madden.
One reason for the new booth review on scoring plays, according to Madden, is to level the playing field between home and visiting teams. Many home teams weren’t showing all scoring plays on the stadium video screen, he says, making a decision on calling for a review more difficult for visiting teams.
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