Huge kickoff rule change expected to increase special teams production

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The NFL approved a significant rule change for special teams on Tuesday that should breathe fresh life into a decaying play.

For years, the league has neutered the importance of kickoffs. First, it moved kickoffs from the 30-yard to the 35-yard line, increasing the number of touchbacks. Then, it moved touchbacks from the 20-yard to the 25-yard line, motivating players not to field kickoff returns. After that, the league allowed fair catches on returns, having the ball come out to the 25-yard line.

The revised rule changes the play’s formation. While kickers will still kick off from their own 35-yard line, the kicking team’s other 10 players will line up 25 yards down the field at their opponent’s 40-yard line. 



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