Monday, March 21, 2011
Updated: March 22, 10:50 AM ET
Bill Belichick against kickoff changes
By Mike Reiss
NEW ORLEANS -- Bill Belichick is not in favor of the NFL competition committee's new kickoff proposal.
To reduce injuries on kickoffs, the committee is proposing moving the kickoff up to the 35-yard line, and bringing a touchback out to the 25.
No player other than the kicker would be allowed to line up more than five yards behind the ball, and the committee will suggest outlawing the wedge on kickoffs; all blocking wedges were reduced to two players in 2009.
"It's a pretty complicated proposal," the New England Patriots coach said at the league's annual meeting. "I don't like the idea of eliminating the kickoff from the game. I think it's one of the most exciting plays in football. It looks like the competition committee is trying to eliminate that play. I don't know if that's really good for the game."
Belichick was asked about the safety aspect of the proposal.
"The presentation last night, I don't know that it's because of head injuries," Belichick said. "The ones they showed, there weren't very many of them. I don't know, I think you should talk to the competition committee. They are the ones that really proposed the rule. Talk to Rich McKay and whoever else is on the committee and see what they have to say about it. There are a lot of components to it -- four different elements to it. It's kind of a complicated rule."
NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay said the proposals have spurred "healthy discussions" among coaches and general managers.
Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said that after a meeting in which the rule proposal was reviewed, he wouldn't be surprised if there were some revisions before it went to a vote on Tuesday.
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.