New NFL kickoff rule perfectly screws over Miami Dolphins rival Bill Belichick

Dec 12, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick against the
Dec 12, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick against the / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL just applied the proverbial screws to Miami Dolphins rival Patriots head coach Bill Belichick with a new rule implementation on kick-offs.

O.k. to be fair, the NFL implemented a rule change that will affect all 32 NFL teams in some way or another but moreso for other teams.

The rule - At the owners meetings, a new rule was passed that would put kick-offs on the 25 yard line if they are fair caught. Previously if a player took the kickoff out of the endzone they had to advance it, now, they can simply wave their hands and the ball will be placed at the 25 yard line.

This is a significant change for teams that play the short kick game forcing teams to return a kickoff. Like the Patriots.

According to, the Patriots in 2021 ranked 29th in touchbacks with only 42.06% of their kickoffs being touchbacks. Belichick tends to use a high short kickoff that allows his special teams players a chance to keep the opposing team from reaching the 25 yard line. In 2020, New England was 56.06% and in 2022, the Patriots were ranked 30th with just 36.47% of their kicks not-returnable.

To put this into a better perspective, Miami was ranked 10th with 68.04% of their kicks were for touchbacks. That was down from the previous year when they reached 70%.

Teams should play this smartly by not returning shorter kicks and taking the ball to the 25 yard line. How will this effect the Dolphins? Well, Braxton Berrios may not see as many returns if teams kick the ball short but there will always be return opportunities.

The league imposed the rule with player safety in mind but there has not be a big uptick in concussions since the rules were changed a few years ago. Fans and media alike are not buying the player safety angle either considering they approved of a flex schedle for Thursday night footbal games late in the season and that has fans fuming.