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Lardarius Webb


NFL’s New Kickoff and Review Rules Make Their Debut

Lardarius Webb becomes one of, if not the first, victim of the NFL's new score review rule

The first pre-season games marked the debut of the NFL’s new kick return rules and the new score review rules. So…what do we think?

I talked about the kick return rule when it was first approved by NFL owners. Essentially, the kicking line has been moved up which increases the chance of punts ending up in the endzone before they’re touched by the opposing team. I think it’s hard to predict whether this rule will have the devastating impact on returners that returners themselves (Josh Cribbs, Devin Hester et al) believe it will. Obviously, the number of touchbacks is going to go up, but I’m not convinced that special teams will be totally devalued. I would probably say assessments of those players might be more difficult in the beginning. I’d be interested to see what others think.

I still stand by what I said about NFL owners showing disregard for positions and strategies teams have already invested in. But if it provides the added safety they claim, I think this is a rule change I can live with.

When it comes to the review rule, this season all scoring drives will be reviewed (whether on offense or defense) by the officials in the booth. If the booth guys believe the refs should review the score, they’ll send a message down to the refs so that they can conduct the review. As far as I understand it, the refs make the decision about whether the score stands or not. During the Baltimore Ravens-Philadelphia Eagles pre-season game, a touchdown by defensive back Ladarius Webb was called back after review.

Without yet experiencing the rule in a regular season game, I’m cool with it. I appreciate efforts to decrease missed calls. And this is probably as good a complement as any to the two reviews coaches get in a game (3 if they win the first 2). This means coaches can use their reviews on other consequential plays knowing that challenges to the big bear-the touchdown-will be handled by someone else. Only question now is how much time these reviews add to the games.



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