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NFL approves putting ball on 25-yard-line following fair catches on kickoffs

Mike Florio and Chris Simms break down the emergency third QB rule, explaining how the player must be on the 53-man roster and can only play if the other two are injured or ejected.

The NFL delayed a vote on a proposed rule change involving fair catches on kickoffs Monday, but circled back to it on Tuesday and the change was approved by team owners.

As a result of the approval, the ball will be placed on the 25-yard-line if teams make a fair catch inside the 25-yard-line on kickoffs. That rule is in place at the college level and the stated reason for the proposed change was increasing player safety given the number of injuries that happen on kickoffs.

Special teams coordinators around the league had a different view of the impact of the rule change, however, and came out against it recently. In addition to seeing it as a possible step toward eliminating kickoffs entirely, there has been discussion that the rule change could encourage squib kicks and other attempts to force teams to field kickoffs and negate potential increases in safety in the process.

The rule change was approved for the 2023 season only, so the issue will be revisited next offseason after everyone sees how things play out before deciding about whether or not to make it permanent.