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NFL delays vote on putting ball on 25-yard line after fair catches on kickoffs

Mike Florio and Chris Simms dissect the owners’ decision to vote down a proposed punt touchback rule and table a proposal on kickoff fair catches.

Two months ago, the Competition Committee expected NFL owners to approve a proposal to put the ball on the 25-yard line after a fair catch on a kickoff. Now, that proposal appears to be in jeopardy amid opposition from special teams coaches.

Today the league was scheduled to vote on the rule but instead decided to delay the vote to tomorrow, indicating that there are still lingering doubts and there aren’t the 24 votes necessary to approve the rule change.

The rule proposal was that on any kickoff, the returner could signal a fair catch anywhere inside the 25-yard line and the ball would be spotted on the 25 for the next play. That’s the rule in college, and the Competition Committee recommended it in an effort to reduce injuries on kickoffs.

It’s unclear how the final vote will go on Tuesday, but indications are that many special teams coaches, head coaches and other football people think the rule is a step too close to eliminating kickoffs altogether, and that the Competition Committee may not get the approval from the owners that it seeks.