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Results Are In: Kickoff Returns Survive!

Posted Mar 27, 2014

NFL owners, along with head coaches and most teams’ front offices, gathered in Orlando this week for their annual meetings. Among other business at this annual meeting is the discussion of and voting on proposals to add or change rules and procedures that govern the game.

In previewing some of the proposals that were on the docket earlier this week, many Vikings fans found concerning a proposal brought forth by the Washington Redskins to move kickoffs back to the 40-yardline, which would all but eliminate the kickoff return from the game. This is concerning to Vikings fans, of course, because last year the best kickoff returner in the NFL wore purple – Cordarrelle Patterson.

In his first NFL season, Patterson showed that he will be a force for many more seasons. He broke a franchise record with 1,393 kickoff return yards and his 32.4-yard return average was tops in the NFL, is a new Vikings record and ranked as the fourth-best average in the NFL since 1970; Patterson also had two kickoff return touchdowns on the season.

You can see why it would be such a disappointment for the Vikings to see kickoffs moved to the 40. But, after discussion and voting, there’s good news: the kickoff return has survived another year.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what did and didn’t pass at this week’s NFL owners meetings:

Changes
-- Centralized review will be in place in 2014, meaning officials on the field will consult with a command center in New York City during the review process.
-- A proposal to extend the goal posts five feet was passed. To clarify, the cross bar is not being elevated five feet – the two goal posts are being extended five feet in height.
-- Officials are now allowed to review the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play. This loophole was exposed when San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman clearly recovered a fumble in the NFC Championship Game last season, but the play couldn't go under review.
-- The game clock will now continue after a quarterback sack outside of two minutes.

“Tabled” Proposals (could be discussed on voted on later this offseason)
-- A proposal to eliminate overtime in the preseason was broached but not passed, but could eventually be discussed again this offseason.
-- Expanding the practice squad from eight to 10 players and expanding rosters from 46 to 49 for teams playing in Thursday night games was also tabled.
-- The League also put off deciding whether to allow teams to open their roof during halftime at games for weather reasons.
-- A proposal to add cameras to all goal lines, side lines and end lines was discussed but not voted on and remains a possible change before the upcoming season.