New kickoff rule

Submitted by I Like Burgers on April 13th, 2018 at 5:03 PM
So with the NCAA officially adopting the new kickoff rule where any fair catch up to the 25yard line will result in getting the ball at the 25, do you think strategy on kickoffs will change? Or will coaches just give up and let the other team get the ball at the 25? I think you’ll see a rise in onside kicks. If an onside kick generally gives the other team the ball around the 50, and they are going to get it at the 25 regardless, why not gamble those 25 yards of field position a few times a game and try to get an extra possession? Especially if teams are going to be lulled to sleep by traditional kickoffs. If I have a great defense like Michigan does, I’m definitely trying it.



April 13th, 2018 at 5:57 PM ^

At this point it should be the choice of the receiving team if they want to simply start at the 25 or attempt returning a kick off. If every kick can basically start at the 25, may as well treat it like the free pass in baseball, don’t even make the team kick it. If a coach really wants a chance at a big return, let em try under the old rules. Fair catch in the end zone brings it out to the 20, everything else is fair game.

I Like Burgers

April 13th, 2018 at 9:07 PM ^

See now that’s interesting. Gives the opposing team a chance to remove any sort of strategy from the other team when it comes to things like squibs forcing a return or a surprise onside kick. Would also reinforce the safety aspect behind the rule.

Could also easily make a rule that doesn’t allow that in the last 5 min of a game, or give the other team one overrule if they really need to do an onside kick with like 8min left of something.


April 13th, 2018 at 5:58 PM ^


1. There is always a chance the receiving team's up-men will be hit by the ball, otherwise touch the ball or mishandle it, allowing for a recovery.

2. Screws up most efforts to set up a return.

3. Rather than booming, high arching kicks, kickers will practice line drives or hot bouncers. I'm sure they can figure this out with some practice. Might need a holder.


April 13th, 2018 at 6:20 PM ^

Is there a rule that a kickoff has to be from a tee? Put your punter in there. It telegraphs the kick, but punt returns are usually short, and with 10 "gunners" a chance for a miscue is fairly high. If this works, look for a rule change as soon as possible.


April 13th, 2018 at 7:03 PM ^

But, I bet it will have an impact on kickers. If the pin deep corner inside the 10, what’s the incentive to advance the ball? I get kicker interest

Steve in PA

April 13th, 2018 at 7:13 PM ^

I remember last year kickoffs were high and dropped at the goal line or inside the 5.  It gave the returner hope that he could get a decent return because of position, but because the ball was so high it ended up most times with a short return inside the 25.

I don't think this rule change would affect that strategy at all.


April 13th, 2018 at 8:52 PM ^

I think this will transition where teams will spend less time and effort on the kickoff return, and more on two or three guys sure-handed guys deep, and  "hands" team at the front and midfield. Kickers will be expected to pooch, or line drive, or do that one bounce on-side of varying degrees of force to try to control the distance.


April 13th, 2018 at 8:55 PM ^

In the long run, I think the rules will eventually be changed so that the only time we see kickoffs will be at the start of each half, and maybe the last few (3? 5?) minutes of each half. Otherwise, the offense will take possession at the -25. I could live with that.

Bigly yuge

April 14th, 2018 at 1:41 AM ^

Stupid rule change. Stop trying to coddle these football players. special teams are a huge piece of a teams identity and can win or lose games. Kickoff returns are also very exciting


April 14th, 2018 at 5:39 AM ^

It’s probably the most dangerous aspect of the game. You’ve got 11 guys running full speed for 20-30 yards before colliding with the return team. It leads to a lot of unconventional hits. I personally blew out my knee on a kickoff when someone bashed their helmet into it from the side. The question is how much value do kickoffs add relative to the safety profile? As much as I’m a football traditionalist, I can see a need for reform.


April 14th, 2018 at 8:26 AM ^

I think there will be an increase in squib kicks that still get the ball back beyond the 25 but to a less dangerous return man w/ a greater chance of the person mishandling the squib. Once the ball touches the ground I don’t believe it can be fair caught, forcing the team to return the kick or take the bad field position