Count Patriots coach Bill Belichick among those who are againts the NFL's proposed rule to move kickoffs to the 35-yard line.
"I don't like the idea of eliminating the kickoff from the game," Belichick told reporters today at the NFL owners' meetings in New Orleans. "It's one of the most exciting plays in football."
The proposed rule would move kickoffs up from the 30-yard line as a way to help limit injuries, particularly to players on the kick coverage teams. Under the new rules proposal, no player except the kicker would be able to line up more than five yards behind the kickoffs. Under the current rule, there is no limitation to how far a player could stand behind the kickoff.
League officials believe that players getting a long running start before a kickoff leads to higher-speed collisions down the field.
The new proposal would put touchbacks at the receiving team's 25-yard line; currently, touchbacks are brought out to the 20.
“The presentation last night [by the Competition Committee], I don’t know that it’s because of head injuries,” Belichick said. “The ones they showed, there weren’t very many of them. I don’t know, I think you should talk to the Competition Committee."
The vote is expected to be taken by owners tomorrow afternoon. At least 24 of the league's 32 owners must approve the rule for passage.