As we saw these past two nights of football, one of the most iconic plays in football has virtually died: Kickoff.
The new rule that the NFL has put in to kickoff from the 35 yard has killed kickoff. Last night, Redskins kicker Graham Gano put the kick between the uprights. Meaning it's a touchback and the ball will start on the 20 yard line going out.
The NFL made it clear why they moved kickoff: to reduce the chance of injury. Players on the kicking team would run as fast as they could down field and would launch themselves into the players on the receiving team. Many times we saw players get carted off the field because of this type of play.
The days of the opening kickoff getting taken back for a touchdown are over. The always exciting quick touchdown after the opposing team scores days are gone as well. The new rule has also diminished the value of the returner. Returners are now only needed for one play: punts.
The iconic field level Super Bowl kickoff shot will be there, but the days of the kickoff game changer are over.