NFL owners have been making a LOT of stupid decisions lately, but one of today's rule changes truly buries the idiocy needle: Kickoffs have been moved from the 30 to the 35 yard line.The ostensible reason for this is "player safety," but I think it comes down to the basic conservatism and risk-averse nature of NFL coaches and management types.
How often have we heard special teams play derided as somehow less important or less of a legitimate part of the game than offense or defense? How often are special teams touchdowns dismissed as "lucky?" Remember last year's win over the Chargers? I couldn't turn on the TV or spend 5 minutes online without someone describing Seattle's win as "lucky," as if it shouldn't matter that San Diego sucked at covering kicks and that Leon Washington is superb at running them back for touchdowns.
The simple truth is that most coaches HATE things that make the game less predictable, and most DETEST making any more decisions than they absolutely have to. A situation that lessens the importance of "wild card" special teams plays and increases the number of times they can expect to just start a drive at the 20 is Manna from Heaven for your more traditional NFL coaches.
So the league has made a rule change that will make one of the most exciting moments in sports- A kickoff return for a touchdown- substantially less likely to happen. It has instantly made players like Leon Washington, Devin Hester and Joshua Cribbs less valuable, and has made the greatest game on Earth just a little bit more boring, and a little bit less compelling.
The only conceivably good thing about the rule change? It'll be less likely that teams winning the OT coin toss will score on that first possession. I think those concerns are wildly overblown, but it will be nice to hear less whining and bitching about the OT coin toss "deciding" regular season games.
What do you think, sirs? Don't forget to check out my home blog: Dave Krieg's Strike Beard.