If anyone has currently been watching any of the preseason games, I am sure you have heard the complaints of the new kickoff rule. Through two weeks, touchbacks are up twenty from last year. While it is a small sample size it is expected to increase even more as we progress into the regular season.
While this rule is not expected to be amended anytime this year, the initial backlash has been felt, each game the new rule has been a topic of discussion.
Kick return players have not been the only people to comment on the rule change. Up until recently, no one has commented as thoroughly as New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick has.
Coach Belichick has proposed going even further with changing the rules for kickers.
“Philosophically, plays that are nonplays shouldn’t be in the game,” he told WEEI, a Boston radio station. “I don’t think it is good for the game. Extra points, when the odds are in the 99 percent range, it is not a play. Let’s move the ball back to the 15-, 20-yard line and not make it a tap-in. Let them kick it. Same thing with the kickoff return. If you’re going to put the ball on the 20, put the ball on the 20.” – from article by Dan Daly Washington Times Wednesday August 24th 2011
As much as kickers are seen as non athletes, the recent rule change hasnt been just because of safety but also because kickers have gotten to good at what their duties. This is evident in the suggested changes by Coach Belichick, kickers now convert PAT’s at a 99% rate where as they convert field goals from 30-39 yards at a rate of 87%. So now the questions stands to you.