1. Kickoffs will move from the 30-yard line to the 35. Expect more touchbacks and fewer returns.
2. Players on the kick coverage units cannot line up more than five yards off the ball. This prevents them from getting a longer, running start which should lessen the impact of some collisions.
3. Touchbacks on free kicks — ie: kickoffs — will bring the ball out to the 25-yard line rather than to the 20. Again, the goal is to encourage more touchbacks and less returns. Punts and other plays that go into the end zone — ie: fumbles through the end zone — will still be brought out to the 20.
4. If a player loses his helmet, it will be treated as an injury and the player must leave the field of play for one play. Expect to see more players buckle their chin straps in 2012. (In case you’re wondering, this rule does not apply if an opponent rips or “facemasks” a player’s helmet off.)
5. Offensive players in the tackle box at the snap of the ball who are not in motion will be allowed to block below the waist legally and without restriction. However, all other players are restricted from blocking below the waist with only a few exceptions (such as straight-ahead blocks).
6. Players will be prohibited from jumping over blockers in an attempt to block a punt.
I am fine with the rule changes except for moving kickoff touchbacks to the 25. They say this will encourage more touchbacks but I think it will just cause more kickers to purposely try to kick it to around the 5 forcing a return. With the kick coming from the 35 instead of the 30 the kicking team will be down the field much quicker giving his blockers much less time to protect him.