CHANGING THE RULES: NFL To Adapt New Kickoff Format And Ban Hip-drop Tackle In American Football

The NFL is thinking about changing the kickoff structure and outlawing hip-drop tackles.

Ohio’s Cleveland The NFL Competition Committee has proposed several rule changes, among the many other things going on in the league. The two main recommendations have to do with a new kickoff structure and hip-drop tackles.

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A new kickoff format impacts both sides of kickoff units, and league owners have the option to approve it. There would be a “landing zone” and a “set up zone” in the format.

The receiving team’s goal line and its 20-yard line would form the “landing zone,” and the kicking team would not be allowed to move until the ball made contact with the ground or was fielded within of this area. Up to two returners may only be placed in the zone by the receiving unit, and their returners were not allowed to use a fair catch.

Then there is the five-yard “set up zone,” which is positioned between their own 35- and 30-yard lines. The “landing zone” should contain no more than two returners.

Kicks that are not successful in reaching the landing zone are downed to the 40-yard line. Kicks that cross the end zone line or land in the end zone are downed at the 35. A kickoff would be placed at the 20 if it struck the landing zone, rolled into the end zone, and was downed. However, a kickoff that is fielded in the landing zone needs to be returned.

Because of the format, there would be more kickoff returns and less room and speed as the units lined up closer to one another than usual.

“Grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms; and unweights himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner’s leg(s) at or below the knee,” according to the competition committee’s definition of the hip-drop tackle.

A hip-drop tackle would result in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.

View the full list of proposed rules for 2024.

Voting on these ideas will take place on March 24-27, during the annual league conference.


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