KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The NFL has approved a new rule that will move the ball to the 25-yard line if the receiving team calls a fair catch inside their 25-yard line on a kickoff, according to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero.
NFL owners approved the resolution putting the ball on the 25-yard line following a fair catch on a kickoff, I’m told.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 23, 2023
Special teams coordinators unanimously opposed the change, but it’s happening.
The rule will be used on a one-year trial basis. League models show that the new rule will help drop the concussion rate by 15 percent, according to Pelissero.
“The kickoff play has the highest rate of concussion year after year," NFL executive vice president of communications Jeff Miller told Pelissero. "You can’t stand by and do nothing."
The new rule was one of two touchback rules the NFL was considering. The other rule would've moved the touchback to the 25-yard line on a punt. The current touchback rules for punts gives the team the ball at the 20-yard line.
The new touchback rule was opposed by every special teams coordinator in the NFL, according to Pelisseron
Former NFL All-Pro punter and media personality Pat McAfee slammed the new rule on his radio show, "The Pat McAfee Show", calling it "bush league".
COME ON ROGER..— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) May 23, 2023
This rule is BUSH LEAGUE #PMSLive pic.twitter.com/3oDLsAnCe9