Andy Reid Is OUT On The New Fair Kick Touchback Rule, Saying The NFL Is Headed Towards "Being Flag Football"
What a long, strange journey it's been with Andy Reid. I went from despising the guy when he was with Philly, thinking he was a choke artist who couldn't manage a clock, or coach his team in close situations in the final minutes, to falling for the guy pretty hard the last few seasons in Kansas City.
Sure the guy is a loveable cheeseburger guzzling teddy bear with a primo mustache. The Hawaiian shirt bravado, mixed with a casualness of a guy who you'd bump into at the bar at your local Applebee's. He's a great guy.
But he's also a tremendous coach. You could argue he was responsible for one of the best 2nd half comebacks in Super Bowl history this past Super Bowl, and I wouldn't disagree with you. Talk about a turn around.
Now that Belichick has lost his fastball, Reid is the best coach in the game. And with large titles come large responsibility. Speaking out about asinine rule changes is just one of those responsibilities.
NFL.com - NFL owners voted on Tuesday to approve a resolution that allows players to fair catch on kickoffs with the resulting possession beginning at the team's own 25-yard line.
The new rule specifies that the fair catch off a free kick (safety or kickoff) must occur behind the team's 25-yard line in order for the ball to be placed at the 25.
The rule change will be for one year only, with the league citing "player safety" as a reason for its proposal.
"The kickoff play for us has been a play that has had a lot of changes for us over the years, all really driven by health and safety," Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL's competition committee, told NFL Network's Judy Battista. "The concussion rate on the play has gone up. It's gone up because the ball is being returned more by kicks that are being hung inside the 5-yard line. College made this rule change in maybe 2018 or 2019. We looked at their data and said, you know what, this is the right thing to do now."
Last time I checked, we were still calling this sport the NFL participates in "football". And last I checked, there were 3 phases that make up the game of football: offense, defense, and SPECIAL TEAMS.
Like a government in need of more revenue, hammering small businesses with more taxes to make ends meet, the NFL continues to hammer the third phase into something unrecognizable at this point, making special teams their whipping boy.
I don't hate all the changes - no. I think moving the point afters to the 25 was one of the best things to happen to the sport in a long time. (Shout out Belichick's brain).
With this rule added to moving up the kickoff and adding yardage to the touchback you are effectively ensuring we never see the likes of return specialists Devin Hester, Dante Hall, Deion Sanders, Cordarrelle Patterson, Josh Cribbs, Gale Sayers, etc. And let's not forget guys like Matthew Slater, special teams LIFERS (Slater played special teams for New England for 15 seasons)
For the record, I am not pro-concussion. By any means. Laugh if you want, but rather than legislate staples of the game away, I'm for improvising, or at least attempting to preserve them somehow someway, like the XFL has. Rather than just throwing your hands up, and incentivizing teams to just wave off all punts now to take them at the 25.
The coverage team starts at the 35, the receiving team starts at the 30, and nobody is allowed to move until the receiver touches the ball.
Obviously this is a major change from how the game has been played. But at least it still allows for return men to be factors. Yes, it also prevents 250 lb specimens from running 20 miles an hour downfield to slam into guys picking up speed running the opposite direction, but it's better than this fair catch shit.
Not to mention, we can also kick all those kicker hits we love so much goodbye now.