NEW ORELANS (CBS) – As the impasse between NFL players and owners continues, the owners went ahead with their annual meeting Tuesday and voted for major changes in the kickoff.
The new rule moves the kickoff from the 35 yard line to the 30, and also allows members of the kickoff coverage team to line up just 5 yards behind the kickoff line, the New York Times reported. NFL officials hope by reducing the running start the kickoff once had, the new rules will also rule the speed of collisions, the New York Times reported.
The Chicago Tribune reported the Bears voted against the new rule, but they were easily outvoted.
Bears wide receiver and kickoff return specialist Devin Hester is well known for providing one of the only exciting moments for Bears fans in Super Bowl XLI four years ago, when he returned the opening kickoff and ran 92 yards for a touchdown. The Bears, of course, went on to lose the Super Bowl 29-17 to the Indianapolis Colts.
So what does Hester think about the new kickoff rule? He weighed in on his Twitter page Monday night.
“Hey hey fans don’t get mad about the new rule, my run back just going 2 be over a 100 yards now. I hate them 90 something yards anyway!!!!!!” Hester wrote.
But quoted in the Tribune, Coach Lovie Smith expressed disappointment. He said the Bears will “find ways to deal with it” and get runs in, but changing the kickoff is “tearing up the fiber of the game a little bit.”