The NFL has banned the use of a wedge on kickoffs. Long kickoff returns are going to die this season and because defenders will be able to get downfield virtually unblocked in many circumstances, the return man is going to be opened up for plenty of big hits, which means this rule will do nothing for safety.
Not to mention, refs will now have another reason to throw a flag, if three players are lined up next to each other within three yards. So basically, teams will put three guys close together running down the field and they can’t be blocked because you can’t line up three return team players that close together to block them! How stupid can the NFL be?
The other rule changes just further protect receivers and defensive players from blindside hits to the helmet. I kind of understand the reasoning, but we should protect the sanctity of the game MORE than the safety of the players. The players are compensated for playing a violent game. The sanctity of the game goes unprotected.
I can’t imagine why the wedge block is being banned. The wedge doesn’t hurt players! What hurts players is running 40 yards down the field in 4.5 seconds and colliding with another man running in the opposite direction at the same rate of speed. You can’t ban that unless you ban returns altogether.
That said, whoever perfects the new return scheme may have a tremendous advantage this season. It will do nothing but help the likes of Ekejuiba and Branch rock opposing return men.