NFL’s new rules
A rundown of the kickoff rule changes:
• No more running starts: The kickoff team must place five players on each side of the ball and cannot line up more than 1 yard back.
• At least two players must line up outside the yard-line numbers, and two players need to line up between the hash marks and the yard-line numbers.
• At least eight players on the receiving team must line up in the 15-yard “setup zone” starting at the opponents’ 45-yard line before the kickoff. Only three receiving-team players can line up beyond that setup zone.
• No wedge blocks: Two or more players intentionally aligning shoulder-to-shoulder within 2 yards of each other who move forward in an attempt to block for the kick returner is no longer permitted. Players initially lined up in the setup zone may still double-team a block if it is not a wedge block.
• Until the ball is touched or hits the ground, no player on either the receiving or kicking team may block between the kicking team’s 35 and the 50. On an onside kick, the kicking team may not block in the first 10 yards.
• The ball is dead — ruled a touchback — if it is not touched by the receiving team and touches the ground in the end zone.