David Buehler: Too many rules changes

Updated: August 25, 2011, 10:54 PM ET
By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com

Count Dallas Cowboys kicker David Buehler among those who aren't a fan of the NFL's rules changes -- specifically the new rule moving kickoffs to the 35-yard line.

"I think they're changing the rules too much," Buehler said on the Ben and Skin Show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. "Football is getting kind of soft with [NFL commissioner Roger] Goodell making all the rule changes and everything like that. Just leave it the way it is.

"Kickoffs are one of the most exciting plays in football, so I don't know why they pushed it up to the 35. I understand the safety reasons but a lot of fans want to see the returns. It gets kind of boring just seeing touchbacks all the time."

Goodell does not make the rule changes. The competition committee, of which Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones is a member, recommends the changes to ownership and the teams vote on them.

The new rule makes touchbacks all the more likely, and Buehler, who has 51 touchbacks in his first two seasons, said the rule change helps him but he knows it hurts others.

"I obviously want [more touchbacks], but the ideal fan doesn't want that," Buehler said. "They want to see the run out, the big collisions and everything like that."

Touchbacks have increased dramatically this preseason because of the rule change. According to data compiled by ESPN Stats & Information, 103 of 278 preseason kickoffs have not been returned, meaning 37 percent of kickoffs have gone for touchbacks. Sixteen percent of kickoffs resulted in touchbacks during the 2010 regular season, when the kicks were made from the 30-yard line.

Buehler, who isn't a traditional kicker because he looks at himself as a player, had 12 solo tackles on special teams last year, which was tied for fourth on the Cowboys.

Todd Archer covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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