The NFL recently made a significant special teams rule change, and Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin is not happy about it.
The decision makers for the NFL have been in Minneapolis since Monday for the NFL Owners’ spring league meeting. This is an opportunity for all the owners to meet, go over business, and vote on new rules and changes that they want to make for the league.
Two of the biggest rule changes that came from these meetings are the league’s ability to flex Thursday Night Football games, and a kickoff rule that will allow a fair catch to automatically place the ball on the 25-yard line. Both rules have received a ton of pushback from players and coaches.
Prior to the kickoff rule passing, the league’s special team coordinators and some players got on a conference call to express that they were unanimously against it. However, commissioner Roger Goodell lobbied for the passing of the rule, and the owners eventually voted to pass it. The league’s argument is that limiting returns will help bring down concussions.
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin took to Twitter to speak out against the rule and the reasoning for the rule. Franklin argued that everyone just needs to accept the fact that football is a violent game, and stop phasing out parts of it.
Zaire Franklin calls out NFL for special teams rule change
Franklin is right, and he’s the perfect person to deliver this message. No one wants to see players get injured but at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do to limit injuries without compromising the game. Phasing out special teams, even just a little, is detrimental to football. Franklin probably wouldn’t be a top linebacker for the Colts right now if it wasn’t for special teams.
In Franklin’s first four seasons with the Colts, he was a standout special teams player for Indianapolis. He became the captain of the unit and was consistently flying down and making plays on kickoff and punt. He is a big reason why Indy’s special teams has been a top unit over the last five seasons.
His work on special teams is also why he was brought back, and had the opportunity to breakout as a top linebacker last season. Limiting kickoffs and other special teams plays will certainly change the game, in a negative way, and take away players and stories like Franklin.
The good news is, the league only put this rule in place for a one-year trial. Hopefully, it will be one-and-done, and kickoff can go back to business as normal. That certainly seems to be what all the players and coaches are hoping for.