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Andy Reid on kickoff changes: Eventually you’ll be playing flag football

Mike Florio and Chris Simms analyze the NFL's move to put the ball on the 25-yard line after fair catches on kickoffs and explore if this could lead to any unintended consequences.

The NFL’s obsession with making the game safer has its limits. At some point, it stops football from being football.

In the aftermath of the most recent revisions to the kickoff, Chiefs coach Andy Reid made that observation when asked about the new rule that allows the receiving team on a kickoff to make a fair catch and get the ball at the 25.
“I don’t know,” Reid told reporters, via John Dixon of “We’ll have to go through all that. My thing is, ‘Where does it stop?’ Right?

“So you start taking pieces [away] — and we’ll see how this goes — but you don’t want to take too many pieces away. You’ll be playing flag football.”

That’s the balance the NFL needs to strike. It’s one thing to make football safer. It’s another thing to make football not football.

That’s the risk. The game has changed slowly but, overall, dramatically in the past 14 years. Watch games from the 1980s or 1990s on It was brutal, so much more than it is now.

At some point, the league risks crossing the line into something that makes football feel like it isn’t football anymore. The NFL isn’t there yet, but it could be getting close to it.