Saints special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi talks kickoff rule change proposal

The NFL is considering another change for its kickoff rules this offseason, and the latest effort is being led by New Orleans Saints special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi. With fewer kicks being returned than ever after pre-snap positioning and other procedures were changed in the name of safety, Rizzi hopes his new proposal will make the play more impactful without sacrificing player safety.

Rizzi made an appearance on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football show to discuss the proposal. He said that he’s collaborated with other special teams coaches around the league to come up with a solution that’s both safer for players and more exciting for viewers.

They drew inspiration from all levels of the game. Rizzi said: “We looked at it, not only the XFL but the USFL, the CFL, the arena leagues, college. The number one goal here was to make the play safer. We wanted to eliminate some of the space and speed. If you can imagine our current kickoff in a condensed version, that’s kind of what we’re doing.”

Rizzi’s proposed format would keep kickoffs from the 35-yard line, but allow players on the kicking team’s coverage unit to line up at the receiving team’s 40-yard line. The receiving team would have blockers positioned between their 35- and 30-yard lines with two returners allowed to start further back. The kicking team can’t move until the ball hits the ground or is touched by the return team. There are more rules involved, which you can read about in greater detail here.

“I should say this as well. The NFLPA, they’re on board, the players love this,” Rizzi continued. “This is a play that’s going to add more plays for the returner, for the core players. It’s more strategy for the kickers. There’s a lot of exciting things. Once the fans understand what we’re doing here, they’re going to be excited too, because you’re going to see a lot of your favorite players with the ball in their hands significantly more.”

This proposal has already been approved by the NFL Competition Committee, and it will go to a vote before league ownership when they convene for offseason meetings next week in Orlando, Fla. Rizzi and his team have put a lot of work into this proposal. Let’s see if it crosses the finish line.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire