Jason and Travis Kelce are siding with Chiefs coach Andy Reid when it comes to the NFL’s “absolutely stupid” new kickoff rule.
When addressing the amendment Thursday on their “New Heights” podcast — in which a fair catch behind the 25-yard line will put the ball at the receiving team’s 25-yard line in an effort to prevent possible injuries in one of the sport’s most dangerous plays — Travis unloaded on the change, calling it “whack.”
“I think this is absolutely stupid,” the star Chiefs tight end, 33, said. “I don’t think this is making the game safe, I think it’s making it more boring and taking a lot of excitement out of the game’s opening play. This is whack.”
Jason agreed with his younger brother’s sentiments, adding the new rule will take away from the role of special teams.
“What are we doing it for, then? Are we just gonna have guys, ‘Hey, I’m gonna run 80 yards for no reason and then we’re gonna start the drive!’” the Eagles center, 35, said.
“We’re just gonna do everything for show. ‘Here’s the ceremonial kickoff that’s not gonna get returned ever.’”
The Kelce siblings — who famously faced off in Super Bowl 2023, when the Chiefs topped the Eagles in February — are not alone in their opposition.
In fact, the rule was passed despite “aggressive pushback from special teams coaches and players,” according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.
“The data is very clear about the higher rate of injury on that play,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this week, per ESPN.
“We’ve been talking about it for several years. We have not made a lot of progress on this play. This was a step that we think was appropriate to address that. But we have a lot more work to be done about how we continue to evolve going forward. Can we continue to keep this play in an exciting way but more importantly a safe way?”
The comments from the Kelces come shortly after Reid, 65, remarked that if the league continues to take too much away, “you’ll be playing flag football.”
The rule will eliminate a hefty percentage of return attempts, and from the kicking team’s perspective, it will prove to be a challenge to keep the opposition back with a deep kick.
This kickoff change will be enforced for a year and there is no guarantee it will remain for the 2024 season.
Similarly, the pass interference replay system was implemented in 2019 and did not return the following year.
“We did this rule for one year only because we really do want to get to a long-term solution, and maybe the long-term solution includes having more returns in the game and just trying to make the play safer,” Rich McKay, the head of the NFL’s competition committee, said Tuesday said at a press conference.
The NFL now has adopted the same rule that college football holds.