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Report: Roger Goodell’s lobbying convinced several teams to approve fair catch kickoff rule

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.

On Tuesday, the NFL’s 32 teams voted to approve a new rule that will put the ball on the 25-yard line following any fair catch on a kickoff return. But it took some work from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to convince teams to vote for the measure.

On Monday, the NFL delayed voting on the rule change. That was apparently because the league office wanted the rule change, but didn’t have the necessary 24 votes to make the change.

According to Albert Breer, as of Monday there were at least a dozen teams ready to vote no, and with only nine no votes required to kill the proposal and keep the rule as it was, Goodell got to work on lobbying teams to change their minds.

Eventually, the rule change passed with 26 yes votes, five no votes (the Ravens, Patriots, Bengals, Bears and Lions) and one abstention (the Raiders).

The kickoff rule change was one of two significant issues on which the league office was able to convince enough teams to go along with its preferred policy. The other was flexing Thursday night games, which didn’t appear to have enough support to pass until the Commanders and Saints changed their minds and becoming the 23rd and 24th votes the league needed to make the change.