Would you believe it? The upcoming 2018 season is the 99th National Football League season. Kicking off on the 6th of September, it is set to be held by Philadelphia Eagles who are the Super Bowl LII defending champions. They are to host Atlanta Falcons and the match is to take place in Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia. This season will end with the league’s championship game, Super Bowl LIII on 3rd February 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, Georgia. Honestly, it is an experience you do not wish to miss out on. There are a lot of hot and action-oriented matches lined up for you. Just have your NFL tickets ready.
This year’s NFL season is expected to employ the approved new NFL kickoff rules. These rules were discussed and approved at the NFL Spring Owners’ meeting that was held on 23rd may 2018.While in the meeting, the owners wanted to come up with means of minimizing the number of kickoff concussions. These concussions tend to occur at least five times during kickoff on regular play. As a result, NFL owners had no choice but to agree on some new kickoff rules in a bid to reduce or rather minimize high-speed kickoff collisions.
New kickoff rules
1.Players are expected to line up as follows during kickoff;
•Eight players of the receiving team have to line up in yard set up zone.
•The kicking team should have its five players on both sides of the kicker.
•The kicking team players are expected to line up in one yard of the kickoff spot, however, the kicker is excluded in that regard.
•Two players have to line up outside yard line number, whereas two other players must be lined up between the hashmarks and yard-line numbers.
2.There should be no blocking in the restraining zone unless the ball is touched in the playing field or touches the ground.
3.Players will be required to do a dual-team block in the set-up zone since wedge blocks are prohibited.
4.All player ejections are to be subjected to a rerun review.
5.Whenever a kickoff lands in the endzone, it becomes an automatic touchback.
6.No lowering of helmets within 15 yards in order to make or initiate contact with the opponent.
7.Any staff or player on the field should stand during The Star-Sprangled Banner performance.
The inception of these new kickoff rules has not gone down with some coaches and players. This is because they are not sure of how the game is going to look like. Coaches will at some point need to devise new strategies in order to capitalize on these new kickoff rules.
However, this new kickoff will tend to impact on the sport in the following ways;
•There is the likelihood of witnessing fewer onside kick efforts.
•No need for a return team lineman
•There are chances, we could witness increased long returns.
•Increased pop-up kicks aimed at capitalizing on open space in the setup zone are likely to be witnessed.
Safety is a fundamental factor in NFL. Therefore, these new kickoff rules ensure players are safe during kickoff by minimizing collisions. Although it is a new strategy, everyone will have to cooperate and adapt to it for the betterment of the sport.