NFL referee Terry McAulay #77 looks on during the Buffalo Bills NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at New Era Field on November 12, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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Longtime NFL Ref: New Kickoff Rule “May Be the Biggest Change I’ve Ever Seen”

Terry McAulay said officials are more concerned about the kickoff change than the new helmet rule.

Media outlets are concerned about the NFL’s new helmet-lowering policy, but, according to a longtime league official, referees are more concerned about how changes to the kickoff rule will affect pro football.

There are nuances to it, but essentially the rule makes certain blocks illegal based on how a player was lined up before the ball was kicked. The reason that complicates things is refs will need to be aware of where a player was lined up before the kick to know if a block is legal or not, as opposed to just watching the play unfold as they normally would.

EX-NFL referee Terry McAulay, who retired this offseason after 20 years for an analyst job with NBC, said the new rule “may be the biggest change I’ve ever seen.”

“People know so little about it,” McAulay told ESPN. “There are so many restrictions on what either side of the ball can do. I know we all feel it can be great for the game. But [officials] have to wait and see. There are a lot of intricate rules in terms of what [players] can and cannot do.”

With the first training camps set to open in 20 days, NFL officials are meeting this weekend in Dallas to discuss the new rules and how they will be called on the field.

Our first chance to see the rules in action will be in the preseason when the Bears and Ravens face off in the Hall of Fame Game on August 2.

Read the full story at ProFootballTalk