The NFL approved a rule for kickoffs at the spring annual meeting in Minneapolis.
It adds a rule that has been in effect for college football, where a player may call for a fair catch on a kickoff and, if that fair catch is made behind his own 25-yard line, the ball will be placed at the 25 just as it would for a touchback from a kickoff reaching the end zone.
The rule was implemented with the goal of reducing the number of concussions, which are more common on kickoffs.
The approval occurred even with unanimous opposition from special teams coordinators.
NFL exec Jim Miller says more changes could be coming in the future.
The league anticipates the return rate on kickoffs with the new rule will reduce from 38% last season to 31% and will reduce concussions by 15%.
Kickoff plays yearly end up having the highest rate of concussions.
The change was approved for one season only, hoping to gain some more data on kickoffs, field position, returns and concussions.
This will potentially change some strategies about how teams go about the kickoff.
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