Amid the lockout, the snarling from the players and owners and the frantic preparation for the draft, the NFL Competition Committee is mulling a host of things best described as sweeping. Maybe odd would work, too.
Our own James Rael covered this last night and did a fine job, but I couldn't resist weighing in. There's potential changes to rules protecting defenseless players, which will almost certainly expand the definition of just who can't be hit unless you wrap yourself in muslin and lead with a pillow. All scoring plays may now immediately be subject to review, as well, whether coaching challenges are in hand or not.
But the change that's most instantly recognizable as a major one is the shift in the way kickoffs would be done. My take's a little different than Mr. Rael's, and you'll find it after the jump.
So, as James noted, kickoffs would be moved up from the 30 to the 35. That would inevitably result in more touchbacks, but those touchbacks would also bring the other team up to the 25. There's also thought being given to eliminate wedge blocking, and apparently eliminating kickoffs altogether was discussed behind the scenes. Players would also have to line up five yards behind the kicker.
Look. If it happens, we'll live with it. Kickoffs aren't such a huge part of the game for many of us that we're going to boycott the NFL, not with so many good reasons to think about doing so as the lockout grinds on. And if it's the right decision for player safety, then it would be hypocritical of me not to be on board with it.
But I can't help but think this will be a shift in the landscape, again. Guys like Eric Weems will suddenly lose a ton of value, and some of your special teams aces will be by default less important. It's something that may be necessary, but it sucks that guys are going to see diminished roles or lose jobs entirely because their specialization is going the way of the dinosaur.
Such is progress, I guess.
The one issue that no longer is on the table? Playoff re-seeding that would have stopped a losing team that won their division from getting into the playoffs. It appears those dastardly 7-9 Seahawks got away with it, too, despite you meddling kids.