NFL kickoffs will take place at the 35-yard line -- not the 30 -- under a modified kickoff proposal passed by the league's owners at the NFL Annual Meeting on Tuesday, according to a league source. The proposal keeps touchbacks at the 20 and continues to allow the two-man blocking wedge.
A proposal to allow the replay official to review all scoring plays at any time during games also passed, but the third challenge remains -- coaches can get a third challenge if they win two challenges.
The league's competition committee originally had proposed moving touchbacks up to the 25, eliminating the blocking wedge and limiting coverage players from long run-ups. The league reduced the number of players allowed in a blocking wedge to two in 2009.
The owners tabled the vote on changing some of the language on defenseless receivers.
With the new kickoff rule changes, expect far less kickoffs being returned, with most kickers easily able to kick out of the end zone. As a result, we will see less teams carrying a kickoff specialist kicker to spell an accurate veteran with a short leg. Also, weapons like Devin Hester and Josh Cribbs will be somewhat neutralized in the kickoff game.
In fantasy leagues scoring return yardage, the focus will shift to punt returns, and returners will become less valuable in general.