Seahawks GM weighs in proposed rule changes, including ‘wild’ kickoff

Mar 22, 2024, 9:06 AM | Updated: 10:45 am

The Seattle Seahawks and the rest of the NFL may have a few adjustments to make for the 2024 season due to proposed rule changes.

NFL competition committee proposes notable rules changes

One would be a 15-yard personal foul for hip-drop tackles – which is when defenders grab or wrap up a runner with both hands or arms, then drop or swivel their lower body, which can trap the runner’s lower legs as the defender lands on them.

Another is a drastic change to the kickoff, which has been rendered almost meaningless in recent years – returns were attempted on less than 22% of all kickoffs, according to Sportradar, down from 80% as recently as 2010. The new kickoff proposal is based off of the XFL kickoff, with only the kicker and two returners permitted to move until the ball hits the ground or is touched by a returner inside the 20-yard line.

Both changes, which would prioritize player safety, will be proposed to owners at the league meetings, and 24 votes out of 32 votes will be needed for them to be implemented.

On Thursday’s John Schneider Show with the Seahawks general manager/president of football operations, Schneider gave his thoughts on the proposals. In both cases, he’s come around even if he was skeptical at first.

“The kickoff thing’s gonna be wild,” Schneider said to Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob. “We want to keep the play in the game for sure. The statistics, the injuries, less concussions – all that. And I think it would be so unique. … It sounds funky, it does the first time. I was kind of like, ‘Alright, here we go, what is this one?'”

Schneider is all for making a change to kickoffs if it means both decreasing the chance of injury on the play and increasing the likelihood of a kick being returned instead of downed for a touchback.

“If we can keep players healthy and make it an exciting play, great. As long as we’re not just completely taking the play away. … Kickoff returners, punt returners, those guys are so talented, I think you wanna see that. … Last year, it just felt like you had punt return, and that was it, and then obviously the field goal units. What special teams plays are impacting the game? It felt like just those two units. I just hope it doesn’t go away, but we want to keep the guys as healthy as we possibly can. The concussion rates on those plays are huge.”

As for the hip-drop tackle, Schneider said he changed his tune after a presentation at the NFL combine last month.

“Personally I was against it, and then I went to a presentation at the combine where there were several defensive Hall of Fame players that watched the same film that they showed all of us. And it’s dangerous, it really is a dangerous thing. There’s guys definitely getting hurt.”

His concern was that it didn’t seem like an easy rule to enforce, but officials are confident they can do so like with another dangerous tackle that has been policed out of the game.

“There were referees in there as well during this presentation, and my personal fear was, well, how are the referees going to be able to call this during a game? We’ll see what happens at the owners meeting, but the response right now from the referees is like, ‘Hey, it’s just as easy as the horse collar, and we’ll be able to take it out of the game like we did the horse collar.'”

The John Schneider Show airs at 4 p.m. each Thursday during Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft. Listen to this week’s full edition in either the video or audio player at the top of this post, or in the podcast at this link.

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