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NFL Expects Fewer Kickoff Returns With New Fair Catch Rule Inside 25

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EAGAN, Minnesota – With a focus on player safety, the NFL has driven the kickoff return even further into obscurity.

The existence of the kickoff itself is still being investigated.

The league’s owners voted Tuesday to test an upgraded touchback rule for one year, giving the receiving team the ball at its own 25 with a fair catch of a kickoff anyplace behind that yard line.

“There’ll be a lot more work to be done about how we can continue to evolve going forward,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “Can we keep this play exciting but, more importantly, safe?” There will be a great deal of work to be done.”

The plan was approved despite strong opposition from coaches and players across the league, who said the alteration would result in uglier plays with squib and corner kicks, making fair receptions hard.

“I’ve been doing this a long time.” “I’ve seen these types of health and safety discussions,” Atlanta Falcons CEO Rich McKay, head of the competition committee, said. “We tend to get ourselves to the right place, but it’s never that comfortable.”

According to the NFL’s statistical projections, the return rate for kickoffs in 2023 will drop from 38% to 31% under the new rule, and the rate of concussions on the sport’s most dangerous play will be cut by 15%. Concussions on kickoffs occur more than twice as frequently as on plays from scrimmage, and the percentage has increased dramatically in the last two years, according to McKay.

NFL

With a focus on player safety, the NFL has driven the kickoff return even further into obscurity.

One possible explanation for the recent rise in head injuries? Kickers’ improved ability to tactically hang the ball longer and higher in front of the goal line gives coverage more time to make a tackle and keeps the opponent’s drive starting deeper than the 25 for an end-zone touchback.

“We understand that there will be injuries in professional football and football at all levels.” “We’re just trying to mitigate those risks,” said Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel, a member of the competition committee that recommended the regulation be approved.

The NFL duplicated a regulation that had just been implemented in college football.

“Not to say there won’t be some unintended consequences, but sitting still and doing nothing was unacceptable,” said Jeff Miller, executive vice president of communications, public affairs, and policy for the NFL. “There may be more to come because both kickoff and punt continue to have higher injury rates than run or pass plays — and sometimes by a significant margin.” We need to keep an eye on those plays.”

McKay admitted there is no certainty that the kickoff will always be a game feature. The NFL will continue investigating alternatives, like those utilized in spring leagues. The XFL has only 5 yards between the kicking and returning teams, with movement prohibited until the returner has fielded the ball.

“You don’t want this play to be taken out of the game because special teams has been a really good part of our game and a really good part of the careers of a lot of players and coaches,” McKay said. “It’s popular. We just need to figure out how to make the plays safer.”

NFL

With a focus on player safety, the NFL has driven the kickoff return even further into obscurity.

In 2016, the league relocated touchbacks from the 20-yard line to the 25-yard line. Only 53 kickoff returns have resulted in touchdowns in the last 12 seasons since kickoff tees were moved up to the 35-yard line from the 30. Before the modification, there were 20 kickoff return touchdowns in 2010.

“I’m sure it’s like a good NFL rule.” “They always have their reasons for putting stuff in,” said Green Bay’s Keisean Nixon, who recorded one of the four kickoff return touchdowns in the 2022 season. “I ain’t never fair caught anything, so I don’t know.”

Coach Matt Eberflus of Chicago projected a tactical change towards squib, drop, and drive kicks.

“I suspect you’ll see more returns rather than less,” Eberflus said. “That’s just what I’m thinking right now,” she says, “but we’ll see what happens.”

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GROWTH ON A GLOBAL SCALE

Goodell showed openness to teams spending more time overseas, with the Jacksonville Jaguars scheduled to play consecutive games in London this year.

“We’ll see how it affects the Jaguars,” Goodell stated. “Can we try three at some point?” Possibly.”

The NFL has expanded its global marketing program to include two additional clubs and four other nations, bringing the totals to 21 and 14, respectively. The New Orleans Saints were awarded the rights to France. Ireland and Northern Ireland were acquired by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who also acquired Mexico last year. Ireland also joined the Jaguars. The Atlanta Falcons are the fifth team to sign Germany. Austria and Switzerland were granted rights to the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The program was created to assist individual teams in developing their brands outside their home markets through commercial activities and fan engagement comparable to what they do at home. The league grants rights for at least five years.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Kansas Adds AJ Storr After He Led Wisconsin In Scoring This Season

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AJ Storr is transferring to Kansas after scoring the most points for Wisconsin this season.

Storr announced on Thursday via social media that he was making this move “with great excitement and humility.” Later Thursday, Kansas formally confirmed the signings of Storr and former South Dakota State guard Zeke Mayo.

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Kansas Adds AJ Storr After He Led Wisconsin In Scoring This Season

“Joining the Jayhawks is a dream realized, and I’m incredibly honored for this opportunity to be a part of the tradition and culture of Kansas Basketball,” Storr wrote on his Facebook page.

It was a busy day for Wisconsin transfer news, as Badgers point guard Chucky Hepburn confirmed on social media that he would also be joining the portal.

Storr, who stands 6-foot-7, averaged 16.8 points and 3.9 rebounds for Wisconsin this season, helping the Badgers finish 22-14. Wisconsin received a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but lost 72-61 to James Madison in the first round.

Mayo revealed his commitment to Kansas on social media two weeks ago. This season, he was named Summit League Player of the Year after averaging 18.8 points and helping South Dakota State earn the conference’s automatic NCAA invitation. The Jackrabbits lost 82-65 against Iowa State in the tournament’s first round.

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Kansas Adds AJ Storr After He Led Wisconsin In Scoring This Season

Kansas will be Storr’s third school in as many seasons. Storr began his college career at St. John’s, where he averaged 8.8 points during the 2022–2023 season.

While Storr only spent one year at Wisconsin, Hepburn was a three-year starter. As a freshman, he helped Wisconsin win a share of the Big Ten regular-season title in 2022 by hitting a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in a 70-67 victory over Purdue.

This past season, Hepburn averaged 9.2 points, 3.9 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.1 steals. He averaged 12.2 points per game during the 2022-23 season and 7.9 points per game in 2021-22.

“As I embark on this new chapter and enter the transfer portal, please know that my decision is not a reflection of anything lacking at Wisconsin,” Hepburn wrote in an Instagram post announcing his decision and thanking Wisconsin’s players, coaches, and supporters. “Rather, it is an opportunity for me to explore new alternatives and continue my journey towards my dreams.

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Kansas Adds AJ Storr After He Led Wisconsin In Scoring This Season

“I appreciate all Wisconsin has given me. I will take the teachings and memories I learned here with me wherever I go, and I will always be happy to be a Badger.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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Travis Kelce Named Host Of ‘Are You Smarter Than A Celebrity?’ For Prime Video

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Travis Kelce’s NFL off-season with the Kansas City Chiefs has been a busy one.

The Super Bowl LVIII-winning tight end is the host of a new game show called “Are You Smarter than a Celebrity?” for Prime Video, the streaming service confirmed Tuesday. Filming for the 20-episode season has already completed.

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Travis Kelce Named Host Of ‘Are You Smarter Than A Celebrity?’ For Prime Video

The premise is a twist on “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”, which debuted on Fox in 2007 and was hosted by Jeff Foxworthy. It also aired in syndication. John Cena hosted a 2019 revival for Nickelodeon.

In Travis’ show, an adult contestant will be given 11 elementary-level questions where they can ask a classroom of various celebrities for help answering.

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Travis Kelce Named Host Of ‘Are You Smarter Than A Celebrity?’ For Prime Video

The final question is from the 6th grade curriculum and is worth $100,000. Only one celebrity is allowed to talk through the answer to the last question with the contestant.

Travis, who is dating music superstar Taylor Swift, said in a statement he grew up watching game shows and is “excited to be following in the footsteps of so many TV icons.”

kelce

Travis Kelce Named Host Of ‘Are You Smarter Than A Celebrity?’ For Prime Video

This isn’t Travis’ first TV gig. He starred in his own 2016 dating competition show for E! called “Catching Kelce” and hosted an episode of “Saturday Night Live” last year.

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‘Once In A Lifetime’: What Caitlin Clark Said After Being Selected At No. 1 In The WNBA Draft

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Few things in professional sports have been as guaranteed as Caitlin Clark’s selection first overall in the 2024 WNBA draft.

The former Iowa Hawkeyes standout, the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer in men’s and women’s basketball and holds the women’s record for the most points scored in a single season, will begin her professional career with the Indiana Fever.

Clark, who helped attract record-breaking TV viewership and sellout crowds in venues throughout the country during her final collegiate season, says she is most excited to bring her passing skills to the Fever, a skill she believes “gets overlooked.”

caitlyn clark

Caitlin Clark after record-breaking NCAA career at Iowa: VORNews Image

Clark, who helped attract record-breaking TV viewership and sellout crowds in venues throughout the country

The 22-year-old is especially excited about the opportunity to play with Fever forward Aliyah Boston, who was unanimously named the 2023 WNBA Rookie of the Year after being selected first overall in the draft last year.

“I think the scoring and the long shots is what everybody falls in love with,” Clark said. “Then, moving to an organization with one of the best post players in the world [Boston].

“My point guard eyes lit up at that. Aliyah has previously been one of my colleagues [on the Under-19 Team USA roster]. I’m excited. I can’t wait.

“There’s a lot to say about her: The Rookie of the Year is one of the greatest players in the league, in my opinion. As I already stated, my primary responsibility as a point guard is to pass the ball to Aliyah every day. That is what I am going to do. I’ll go in there and say, ‘Make a layup.’ She is going to make my life easier.

“She’s amazing, but what I love most about her is that she’s a wonderful person. She enjoys the game, is familiar with it, supports it, and has a grin that touches many people and delights them when they see her. “I can’t wait to be her teammate again.”

Clark has had an “insane” time recently.
Clark claims the last few weeks have been “pretty insane.”

She only had two days at home after losing to South Carolina in the NCAA Championship Game, just enough time for a home-cooked lunch from her mother before going to Los Angeles and then New York for the draft on Monday.

“I think the biggest thing is I’m just very lucky to be in this moment, and all these opportunities and things, they’re once in a lifetime,” she adds, reflecting on a hectic few months.

“When things get boring or you have to do something, I believe the most important thing is to look at it as an opportunity. This is not something that everyone gets to do. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m trying to soak up every moment of it because I know how quickly things can change, and I have a lot of people on my side.”

Clark has been filming a documentary for ESPN and Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions, where she also serves as an executive producer, and will appear alongside new Chicago Sky draftee Kamilla Cardoso and UCLA Bruins player Kiki Rice.

“If you’re a women’s basketball fan or not a women’s basketball fan, I encourage you to watch the show when it comes out,” Clark said. “I have seen bits and pieces. It’s simply great.

“It really allows you to understand the student-athlete for way more than just a basketball player, and I think that’s really important.”

Clark has pursued a variety of off-court ventures in addition to her basketball career, including sponsorships, name, image, likeness (NIL) agreements, and business prospects.

She is unquestionably one of the most marketable athletes in the United States, with her new Fever jersey allegedly selling out the instant she was drafted.

caitlyn clark

‘Once in a lifetime’: What Caitlin Clark said after being selected at No. 1 in the WNBA draft. VORNews Image

Clark has been filming a documentary for ESPN and Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions

Clark feels her experience juggling numerous aspects of her life and dealing with high pressure and expectations in college will serve her well in the WNBA.

“If I’m being completely honest, I feel like it doesn’t change a ton from how I lived my life over the course of the last year,” she said.

“Sponsorships remain the same. People around me, including agents, have been able to assist and guide me over the last year. I’m unsure I’d be where I am now if it hadn’t been for several of them.

“My mom and dad have done a lot. That, I believe, is the most significant factor. “My advice is to just lean on the people around you,” Clark continued.

“I do not have to do everything. In college, I always stated that my primary emphasis was basketball. That’s why I’ve had so many other opportunities in my life: it’s because of how I conduct myself and play the game.

“In my professional career, I intend to do the same thing. My main focus is basketball, and I strive to be the best I can.”

Clark will graduate from Iowa on May 14, and she says it’s “pretty exciting” not to have to go to school. She adds that her “110% focus” is now on her professional basketball career.

She joins a squad that hasn’t had much success in recent years. The Fever’s last playoff trip came in 2016 when they fell in the first round to the Phoenix Mercury.

Clark said the team’s major goal is to “get back to championship habits.”

caitlyn clark

Caitlin Clark joins rare company to hold NCAA records across men’s and women’s basketball.. VORNews Image

Clark, who helped attract record-breaking TV viewership and sellout crowds in venues throughout the country

“I’m very lucky to be going to an organization that really loves women’s basketball,” she said. You saw it today. I believe they had 17,000 tickets claimed for just watching the draft. That reflects the excitement in Indianapolis. It’s an excellent basketball city.

“Obviously, the Pacers’ postseason performance this year has been exceptional. I suppose I am just excited. As you mentioned, the club has a lot of young potential, and the goal is to get back to the playoffs and win as many basketball games as possible.”

The new WNBA season begins on May 14, with training camps starting on April 28 and preseason games on May 3.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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