Tag:Rich McKay
Posted on: August 17, 2011 8:48 am

Belichick: NFL wants to squash kickoffs

BelichickPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With the new NFL rules stating that kickoffs are to be taken from the 35-yard line instead of the 30 -- though the Bears didn’t feel they needed to follow that rule, since apparently they wanted to work on their kickoff coverage -- it seems pretty clear the NFL wants to reduce the number of returns that can be taken.

In fact, as we wrote last March, the reason the rules competition committee wanted to make the change in the first place was because of safety concerns. But according to Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the league has an ulterior motive for making the change to kickoff placement.

The NFL wants to eliminate kickoffs entirely.

During a session with the media Tuesday, one questioner, according to CSN’s Tom E. Curran, began a query this way: “If the intention of the NFL is eliminate kickoffs …” Belichick quickly interrupted.

"That's what they told us," Belichick said. "I'm not speaking for anyone else. That's what they told us, that they want to eliminate the play."

Which would fundamentally change the game in a way that is not completely impossible to fathom but which critics could claim also turns the NFL into more of a flag football league. Even if that supposed philosophy never comes to pass, Belichick talked about the current system, in which teams might build rosters differently if kickoff returners won’t make as much of an impact.

"If, instead of covering 60 kickoffs in a year you think you're only going to be covering 30, then is that coverage player as important, or -- on the flip side of it -- is the return game?" Belichick asked (presumably in the rhetorical sort of way). "If you're going to be returning 30 instead of 60, are the guys who block on the kickoff return (as important)?  If you think you're going to be returning more punts than kickoffs (there's a decision to weigh). Usually you're going to be returning more kickoffs than punts but if you think you'll be returning more punts than kickoffs, then maybe you put more of a priority on your punt returner than your kickoff returner."

To be fair, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello had this to say to CSN regarding Belichick’s claim that the league wants to squash kickoffs: "(Chairman of the Competition Committee) Rich McKay and (NFL Vice President) Ray Anderson say that’s not accurate. They said the Competition Committee’s position was that they wanted to 'shorten the field' and that the movement of the kickoff line would potentially reduce the number of kickoffs to be returned. They said they are unaware of anyone saying that it was intended to 'eliminate' the kickoff return."

But if that was the case and the NFL really does want to eliminate kickofs, you can bet teams like the Bears (because of KR Devin Hester), Browns (because of Josh Cribbs) and the Seahawks (because of Leon Washington) who are already not pleased with the new rules will be really, really unhappy.

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Posted on: May 24, 2011 11:14 am
Edited on: May 25, 2011 6:30 am

League approves three rule changes at meetings

Posted by Will Brinson

All the NFL news today isn't necessarily bad. The league addressed, as expected at the owners meetings in Indianapolis, several rule changes. Three rules aimed at protecting defenseless players were approved 32-0.
NFL Labor

The biggest change appears to be the definition of a defenseless player. Now included in that definition, per Albert Breer of the NFL Network, are players who are "not clearly a runner yet" (wide receivers), kickers and punters during a return and quarterbacks following a change of possession.

There was a change made to the "launching" rule too. A player will be considered to have launched himself if he leaves his feet prior to contact in order to spring forward into another player and using "any part" of the helmet.

Finally, there's a change with respect to the "blow to the head" rule on quarterbacks. It's now a judgment call when a defender grazes the quarterback's head, as opposed to an automatic penalty with any touching.

Rich McKay, head of the NFL Competition Committee, is expected to speak at more length about the new rules later in the day. And yes, it is refreshing to deal with real football news even if the lockout is still looming large enough to make any rule changes irrelevant.

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 2:45 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 3:05 pm

Report: competition committee tries again

D. RobinsonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

The first time the NFL’s competition committee recommended rules changes to the owners for the 2011 season that would alter a players’ ability to launch into a defenseless receiver while trying to make the game safer, it was met with a shrug and then tabled.

Now, as Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez reports, the competition committee, led by Rich McKay, is trying again (a relaunching, if you will), introducing three rules next week at the owners' meeting in Indianapolis that ultimately will lead to what it was the competition committee wanted in the first place.

The reason for the revision of the rules, which was tabled in March? Basically, the owners wanted more specifics.

Writes Marvez: “The measures are designed to provide further protection for ‘defenseless’ wide receivers, i.e. those attempting to catch a pass or who have completed a catch and not had time to protect themselves or clearly become a runner. The other change would further ban illegal ‘launching’ where a defensive player leaves his feet to strike an opponent with his helmet and upper torso.”

To me, this seems like kind of an easy rule to vote for (a no-brainer, if you will). But hey, it didn’t work the first time, so who knows if 24 of the 32 owners will give it a yes vote in order to pass it.

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Category: NFL
Tags: Rich McKay
Posted on: April 14, 2011 9:48 am
Edited on: April 14, 2011 11:49 am

Mediation underway; four owners attending talks

Posted by Andy Benot

Thursday is the start of the court-ordered resumed mediation between the NFL and NFLPA (kickoff time 10:00 a.m. EST). This time the talks are taking place in Minnesota in the chambers of Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan.

NFL Labor
According to league spokesman Greg Aiello, four NFL owners are attending the Thursday session: Robert Kraft of the Patriots, Jerry Richardson of the Panthers, Clark Hunt of the Chiefs and Art Rooney of the Steelers. Also in the room are Roger Goodell, NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash and, according to NFL Network's Albert Breer, Falcons president Rich McKay.

Judge Susan Nelson, who ordered this mediation, has required that whoever is on hand must have the power of full authority. In other words, the individuals in the room must be able to work out whatever (if any) deal their side is willing to do.


UPDATE 10:19 a.m. EST: Breer reports that two of the plaintiffs in the Brady v NFL case are in the mediation: Mike Vrabel of the Chiefs and Ben Leber of the Vikings.

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: March 16, 2011 2:14 pm

Major rules changes coming for NFL?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When owners convene next week for what seems like their 50th meeting of the year, the NFL’s competition committee has some recommendations for them (hopefully, Jerry Jones won’t tap his fists together and walk out of this meeting).

According to several reporters who were on a teleconference call with Rich McKay, chair of the committee, there are number of potential rules changes. Here they are:

1) The most-impactful proposal is the idea to move the kickoff spot from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line, to make the touchback starting point the 25-yard line (instead of the 20) and to eliminate all wedge blocking, including the two-man wedge.

This proposal, says the committee, is because of player safety. Since kickoffs are so potentially dangerous, it’s pretty clear the committee wants to reduce the amount of kickoffs that can be fielded. Even if a place-kicker can’t get the ball out of the end zone from the 35-yard line, returners will be less likely to run back a kick from the middle of the end zone, now that a team would get possession at the 25-yard line on a touchback.

If this rule is adopted, that would, I imagine, lessen the impact of players like Devin Hester and Leon Washington.

The elimination of wedge plays isn’t a surprise, because of how dangerous those blocks are for the person who’s being double-teamed. In fact, McKay said, some teams proposed eliminating kickoffs altogether (how crazy would that be, by the way?).

2) Expect suspensions for those who make dangerous hits on defenseless receivers. This, obviously, also is because of safety, and since the players have had half a season to get used to this new paradigm, I expect the NFL to start actually suspending players. Especially for repeat offenders and for the worst of the worst hits.
Player safety

3) Regarding instant replay, the committee wants to adopt a rule in which all scoring plays would be booth reviews. This would eliminate the coaches’ ability to challenge on a TD (or a field goal, I suppose). This obviously is a move to the college game, though McKay said he’s not willing to go all the way there (meaning all plays are reviewable by the booth).

And a few other news bits:

-Playoff overtime rules will not extend into the regular season. The main reason: there was no playoff overtime games last year, and the committee still wants to see how that situation would play out before making it all-encompassing.

-The possibility was discussed by the committee, but there will be no proposal for playoff reseeding this season. Good news for, ahem, the Seahawks.

-The NFL schedule will be released in mid-April this year. Just like normal.

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Posted on: December 16, 2010 10:11 am
Edited on: December 16, 2010 10:13 am

Goodell: Re-seeding playoff plans have 'merits'

Posted by Will Brinson

FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- Every week, it seems, there's some new argument for why [Insert your favorite NFC West team here] shouldn't make the playoffs in 2010, despite winning an utterly terrible division.

It was bound to come up at the owners' meetings as well (anyone else kind of chuckle at the thought of Bob Kraft stewing because Alex Spanos winked at him over that 8-8 season in 2008?) but don't expect anything regarding the way the playoffs are handled to change.

"I'm sure it will be [addressed]," Goodell said. "It's not a new conversation. We've had an awful lot of discussion over that over the past several years and I'm sure it'll come up again for discussion.

"I see the merits of what they're talking about, but I also believe our playoff system has worked quite well."

It has worked well -- even the most nightmarish of situations (the aforementioned 8-8 Chargers) didn't end poorly because San Diego played well in the postseason. But right now, the league is staring at a situation where St. Louis or Seattle get a home game in the playoffs with one of them sliding in at a best-case scenario 9-7.

Which is why Falcons President Rich McKay, co-chair of the competition committee, also believes re-seeding is something to be looked at.

"I think it should be discussed, and I think it would get more support than the last time," McKay said.

That's because right now, the idea of Seattle or St. Louis hosting a home game is pretty reprehensible especially if it means that a strong team like Green Bay or Tampa Bay gets pushed out for a team with a sub-.500 record.

That's not to say the committee should completely boot division-winning teams with bad records from the playoffs. That's a bit extreme, especially when you consider the success the NFC West has had in the past (the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks have all been to the Super Bowl in the past decade and the Niners are historically legendary or something). But removing the luxury of a home game from a 7-9 division champ seems like a reasonable step to take.

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