Chiefs already maximizing NFL's new kickoff rule better than anyone else

The Chiefs just made a move to maximize the NFL's new kickoff rule
Kansas City Chiefs, NFL
Kansas City Chiefs, NFL / Michael Steele/GettyImages

The NFL has adopted a new kickoff rule which is much simpler to see than it is to explain.

Essentially, the NFL's attempt to keep kickoffs an interesting play while simultaneously making it a "safer" play is going to involve the coverage units being lined up five yards away from each other on either side, while the return man will get a 20-yard head start (or so). The feel of the play is very much so of the rugby variety, or at least it's reminiscent of rugby.

So it's no coincidence then that the Kansas City Chiefs went out and signed a highly desirable former rugby star, the 23-year-old Louis Rees-Zammit who is taking his talents from the rugby pitch to the NFL gridiron.

Although expectations should be tempered for someone like Rees-Zammit, the new kickoff rules in the NFL could potentially make his transition to professional football in America much more seamless than for other international stars trying to make that transition in recent years. The NFL's rules over the last decade or so have largely eliminated the kickoff return, or at least have slowly begun to eliminate it.

It's just not a play you see as often in today's NFL, and the kickoff has become borderline pointless in the grand scheme of things. Unless teams are strategically trying to keep the ball in play, you're going to see a touchback roughly 80 percent of the time or more.

With these new rules in place, there should be a substantial uptick in kickoff returns around the league, which means having a weapon back there to return the kicks is going to be incredibly important. And given the fact that Rees-Zammit is used to making plays from a scrum, he might even have a little deja vu out there if the Chiefs line him up to return kicks.

This is such a smart move by an organization that knows how to utilize personnel in every phase better than most. The Chiefs have one of the best special teams coaches in the NFL in Dave Toub, and getting an athlete like Rees-Zammit is such a fun pickup given the league's new look on kickoffs.

Rees-Zammit is 6-foot-3 and was apparently very upset that he "only" managed to clock in the 4.4 range in his 40-yard dash. He expected to run in the 4.2s or 4.3s, but had to settle for the 4.4s. It didn't prevent the league from having interest. He took a tour of visits to a number of teams including the Jets, Browns, Packers, Broncos, and Chiefs. Naturally, the rich got even richer.

The initial thought is that Rees-Zammit will be listed as a RB/WR, and while his involvement offensively will be fascinating, the Chiefs won't have to manufacture touches for him on special teams. They can just throw him back there and let him do what he does best, which is making guys miss with the ball in his hands.

Even if it doesn't work out, the thought process here by Kansas City given the timing of the league's new rule is just another way for the best team in the league to gain a competitive advantage.