Belichick approves of kickoff rule tweaks

Belichick approves of kickoff rule tweaks
March 22, 2011, 6:04 pm
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By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

NEW ORLEANS - On Monday, Bill Belichick sneered at the proposed changes to kickoffs floated by the NFL's Competition Committee. On Tuesday, he was more accepting. Asked his reaction to the rule adopted Tuesday which will move the kickoff line of scrimmage from the 30 to the 35, Belichick downplayed the overall impact. "It's fine, we look forward to it," Belichick told ESPN.com's Tim Graham and a few other media members.Initially, the rule was also going to move the line of scrimmage on touchbacks up to the 25. It will remain at the 20. Additionally, the two-man blocking wedge will still be in effect. "I think that's good for the game," Belichick said of streamlining the change. "We don't need too many new rules every year. It's hard for the coach to keep up with them, let alone the fans. I'm still working on some of the new rules from last year."Asked what he figured the impact would be, Belichick said, "Based on the numbers, you're still probably looking at at least two-thirds of the kicks being returned, maybe three-quarters. At the end of the year it goes down anyway. There's a lot more touchbacks in the first part of the season than there are at the end. The ball just doesn't carry as far in the cold. I don't care. Just doesn't go as far."The league also adopted a rule that makes all scoring plays subject to booth review without a coach's challenge. "It'skind of like the college rule, kind of cleans it up a little bit," said Belichick."I think any time the pro rules and the college rules are the same, that's better for the fans. It's easier to follow, you know, one foot, two foot, all the things like that. To make it more consistent, that's better."

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran