Yesterday afternoon I was driving around San Diego and decided to see what was on AM1090. The first thing to come out of my car speakers was the voice of Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton, and any time that happens I am required to leave it on for a few minutes while I repeat everything the host says while doing my award-winning Hacksaw impersonation.
He was in the middle of taking a call from an outraged NFL fan who thought that "the new kickoff rule is just one more giant step towards the wussification of football." Did Hacksaw take the time to correct the caller and inform him that "wussification" is, in fact, not a real word? He did not. Instead he danced around the subject, finally settling on the stance of "It's up to the owners", before trying to sell me on sticking around through the commercials to listen to more. I ain't buying, pal.
Today, the NFL indeed "wussified" the sport of football (according to that caller) by changing the kickoff rules back to the way they were before 1994. Because, as we all know, before 1994 football was played exclusively by children in tutu's who didn't "tackle" each other as much as they gave emphatic hugs.
Here's a run-down of the rule-changes heading into (hopefully) the 2011 NFL season, as approved by the owners and for the safety of the players:
- Kickoffs will now take place on the 35 yard line instead of the 30. Remember those Nate Kaeding kicks that landed on the 8 yard line before? They're landing on the 3 yard line now, and the coverage unit will be 5 yards further downfield. Yee-haw!
- Everything else about kickoffs remains the same. Any wedge of more than 2 players is illegal, touchbacks are taken on the 20 yard line, etc. etc. You know the rules, you watch the sport.
- All scoring plays will now be reviewed by the booth. Will this result in delays between TDs and Extra Points? Probably, but it saves a whole bunch of challenges for Head Coaches. Now guys like Norv Turner have 2 (or, potentially, 3) challenges to use for all of the plays that do not result in points. Huge win for coaches, as I imagine at least 50% of challenges were taking place on scoring plays.