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Bears protest new kickoff rule in first preseason game

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In their Saturday preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills at Chicago's Soldier Field, the Bears refused to accept the new rule , and instead lined their first two kickoffs up at their 30, as had been in the past. Apparently, the officials on site didn't catch it, because no penalties were called and it took a call from Vice President of Officiating Carl Johnson (notes) to " put a stop to it ," according to the Twitter account of Johnson's predecessor, current Fox Sports analyst Mike Pereira.

Bears head coach Lovie Smith, who's had return teams among the league's best for a number of years, seemed unaffected by the violations and any potential fallout. In other words, it wasn't a mistake.

Source: Yahoo!

I enjoyed this.

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Hilarious that the refs didn't even catch it until someone told them.

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Yeah. I'm glad they did it. This thing needs to end.

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I have gone from hating the Bears to almost respecting them after this... Every team should take after them on this one

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He wasn't protesting it. He had them kick from the 30 so he could better evaluate their guys because he knew their kicker could boot it all the way back. According to NFL.com they said they told the refs about it before the game, which would explain why the refs did nothing until the VP of officiating called and told them to.

Edited by Shotgun

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I like the new rule. Not only does it help GB as their ST still sucks but it actually keeps players safer. Special teams is where a lot of injuries happen, including some very nasty ones that have paralyzed players. I like how Goodell and the league are trying to make the league safer. Now not being able to have good TD celebrations is pretty stupid and can be considered the No Fun league.

Edited by Packers Dynasty 2010

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I want to join to the protest. This is rediculous. How can you be happy about every kickoff going for a touchback? This completely ruins a vital aspect of the game, which is field position. The value of guys like Devin Hester, Leon Washington, Josh Cribbs, and Roscoe Parrish completely diminished when they instilled this rule.

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I want to join to the protest. This is rediculous. How can you be happy about every kickoff going for a touchback? This completely ruins a vital aspect of the game, which is field position. The value of guys like Devin Hester, Leon Washington, Josh Cribbs, and Roscoe Parrish completely diminished when they instilled this rule.

Not every kick is a touchback, watching the preseason games there were still quite a bit of returns and players taking it out of the endzone. Once the weather gets worse and kickers have to go against the win, there won't be as many touchbacks. Like I said, player safety is more important than some of the few ST aces in my opinion.

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Not every kick is a touchback, watching the preseason games there were still quite a bit of returns and players taking it out of the endzone. Once the weather gets worse and kickers have to go against the win, there won't be as many touchbacks. Like I said, player safety is more important than some of the few ST aces in my opinion.

 

Careful, your CantStopThePack is showing.

 

Only because many teams (like the Packers) didn't WANT it to go out of the endzone... The Packers deliberately told Crosby not to kick it out of bounds. Most kickers, without the rule, can get it 2-5 yards deep... Add an extra 5 yards and nearly every kick is going either out of bounds or within a yard or two.

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He wasn't protesting it. He had them kick from the 30 so he could better evaluate their guys because he knew their kicker could boot it all the way back. According to NFL.com they said they told the refs about it before the game, which would explain why the refs did nothing until the VP of officiating called and told them to.

He was protesting by refusing to follow the new rule. And the refs didn't know about it. They wouldn't have allowed the Bears to break the rules.

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He was protesting by refusing to follow the new rule. And the refs didn't know about it. They wouldn't have allowed the Bears to break the rules.

 

Citing need to judge players, Bears ignore new kickoff rule

  • NFL.com
  • Published: Aug. 14, 2011 at 06:15 a.m.

As if to reiterate their presumed opposition to the new kickoff placement rule, the Chicago Bears defied it twice in the first half of Saturday's preseason victory over Buffalo.

 

The Bears lined up Robbie Gould's first and second kickoffs at the 30 instead of the 35, as called for in the new rule. When told of the kickoffs, Carl Johnson, the NFL's vice president of officiating, called Soldier Field and ordered officials to "put a stop to it," according to Fox Sports.

 

As it turns out, the Bears were more interested in practicing kickoff coverage than defying the new rule. The team reportedly told the officiating crew beforehand that they would kick off from the 30 at some point.

 

"Robbie Gould ... we can put it on the 35 and he can kick it out each time," coach Lovie Smith told the Chicago Sun-Times. "We're not really getting a good evaluation of what we can do coverage-wise on some of our players. That's what we were trying to do with it."

 

The Bears are believed to be one of six teams that voted against the rule change at the owners meetings in March. The league hopes the change improves safety.

 

And it's not a protest unless he was specifically doing it to solely go against the rule out of dislike for it. He may dislike it, but in this case he was just trying to evaluate his players on kickoff returns. I also wouldn't consider it a protest because he stopped when he was told to, instead of refusing to, and went on with the game.

Edited by Shotgun

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I'm not a fan of the lack of kick returns...it devalues nearly everyone on special teams, many young players get their breaks on special teams...might as well just start it on the 20 and eliminate special teams outright...

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might as well just start it on the 20 and eliminate special teams outright...

 

Why? There are still kick returns. Just because the number is reduced by touchbacks doesn't mean there won't be any at all. I guarantee you we will still see a few kickoffs go for TD's and a bunch of big returns that puts teams offenses in better position to win the game. Or vice versa where the defense gets them within their own 10 yard line.

 

In fact I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of teams try to not kick it in the endzone against certain teams and attempt getting it around the 5 yard line, because with the ball being put at the 35 yard line they are going to get to whoever catches the ball even faster than they used to.

Edited by Shotgun

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As it turns out, the Bears were more interested in practicing kickoff coverage than defying the new rule. The team reportedly told the officiating crew beforehand that they would kick off from the 30 at some point.

 

This, many players' main role is kickoff coverage. It's not all about the returners' stats.

 

Yeah, hopefully we'll see more accurate kicks dropping em before the end zone.

 

 

Unfortunately, they can't coffin corner kickoffs...

Edited by Krawnka

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And it's not a protest unless he was specifically doing it to solely go against the rule out of dislike for it. He may dislike it, but in this case he was just trying to evaluate his players on kickoff returns. I also wouldn't consider it a protest because he stopped when he was told to, instead of refusing to, and went on with the game.

Still, I was very happy about this because they didn't go against the new rule, and there was obviously an element of protest in it, considering they were one of the only teams to vote against the new rule.

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Only because many teams (like the Packers) didn't WANT it to go out of the endzone... The Packers deliberately told Crosby not to kick it out of bounds. Most kickers, without the rule, can get it 2-5 yards deep... Add an extra 5 yards and nearly every kick is going either out of bounds or within a yard or two.

 

Like Shotgun said, there will be kick returns still and teams may try not kicking it to the endzone on purpose. If kickers are kicking against the wind, there will be returns, a benefit of having an outdoors stadium rather than some dome where kickers will be able to boot it out of the endzone anytime.

 

I stand to my point that I like the new rule cause it helps player safety. I understand injuries can happen on any play but in the past 10 years, the only paralyzing injuries have been on special teams. Special teams aces can still make an impact on punt returns.

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The part that bugs me the most is the fact that games as a whole will probably be lower in scoring. More and more games will become field goal battles. Why? Because when drives start back at the 20 or behind, you seldom see a touchdown scored. A majority of the touchdowns come from when a team starts out at the 40 yard line.

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Are you guys seriously buying the statement that lovie said he just wanted to evaluate his coverage unit????? COME ON guys... You aren't that stupid...

 

A) You don't need a coverage unit if Gould can kick TB every time like Lovie claims

 

B) You don't need to line up further back to evaluate ST coverage. Just tell Gould not to kick at full strength.

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The part that bugs me the most is the fact that games as a whole will probably be lower in scoring. More and more games will become field goal battles. Why? Because when drives start back at the 20 or behind, you seldom see a touchdown scored. A majority of the touchdowns come from when a team starts out at the 40 yard line.

Cause drives will always start at the 20? There will still be some good returns. If a team has a good enough D to force a 3 and out from the 20, they will have good field position to score points.

Edited by Packers Dynasty 2010

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Lmao...

 

@BradBiggs: #Bears practicing kickoffs right now. From the ........ 30.

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Aaaand it continues:

 

 

Bears claim league granted permission to kick from 30 vs. Bills

 

The Chicago Bears' decision to kick off from the 30-yard line Saturday night wasn't just sour grapes.

 

Bears special teams coach Dave Toub claims the NFL granted the team approval to kick from the 30, so it did so before discovering that the league had changed its mind, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday.

 

 

The Bears lined up Robbie Gould's first and second kickoffs against the Buffalo Bills at the 30 instead of the 35, as called for in the NFL's new kickoff rule.

 

"We talked to the NFL beforehand during the offseason, and they said it was going to be OK. So that's why we did it," Toub said Monday at Bears training camp.

 

"I guess it came down from New York. They got word that we can't kick from the 30, and then we just went back to the 35 after that. We thought we could do it. We thought we were clear with it. We told the officials ahead of time that is what we were going to do. They were fine with it. That's why we kicked from the 30. We were just trying to evaluate our kickoff team. You don't get any evaluation when you kick touchbacks. That's what preseason is for -- it's about evaluation and finding who can cover kicks. That's all we were trying to do."

 

However, league spokesman Greg Aiello told NFL.com and NFL Network: "We are not aware of any such approval being given."

 

Fox Sports also reported that when told of the kickoffs, NFL vice president of officiating Carl Johnson called Soldier Field and ordered officials to "put a stop to it."

 

Six teams voted against the rule change at the owners meetings in March, and the Bears are believed to be among them. However, the league hopes the change improves safety.

 

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