The NFL offseason is home to more than just free agency and trades. The offseason is the time of year when the league takes a look at changes that need to be made. NFL owners and teams even send proposals to be voted on and adopted. Today, the NFL passed a new rule that affects special teams in a big way.
What is the NFL’s New Rule
The new rule the NFL is adopting is actually something that college football already does. The NFL is citing the reason for the change as player safety. The New rule will make it so that fair catches made behind the 25-yard line on free kicks (kickoffs and safety kicks) will result in the ball being put in play from the 25-yard line.
According to Tom Pelissero, special teams coordinators unanimously were against the rule, but it was passed anyway.
Here’s the full proposal owners approved today. pic.twitter.com/GcmLgGljw2
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 23, 2023
Rule Change’s Effect on the Packers
The Green Bay Packers special teams unit has been one of the league’s worst over the last few seasons. However, in 2022 they found a bright spot in Keisean Nixon. Nixon was named a First Team All-Pro returner despite not returning kicks until halfway through the season.
Before Nixon, the Packers struggled with fumbles on kickoffs. However, with the new rule, this would make it to where they could have just called a fair catch on the kickoff and been set up with a touchback. Obviously, this makes it significantly tougher to force turnovers on kickoffs, which is why special teams coaches were against it.
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