Posted by Sabrina B. @gametimegirl

The Chicago Bears were one of six NFL teams that reportedly voted against the new rule moving kickoffs to the 35-yard line of the team doing the kicking. The rule, which moves the ball up from the 30-yard line and should cause more touchbacks and fewer exciting returns, was implemented by the league’s Competition Committee at the owners meetings in March as a move to improve player safety. The thought was that those exciting returns also involve too many high-speed collisions, but the Bears weren’t buying it.

In their Saturday preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the Bears refused to accept the new rule, and instead lined their first two kickoffs up at their 30, as had been in the past. Apparently, the officials on site didn’t catch it, because no penalties were called and it took a call from Vice President of Officiating Carl Johnson(notes) to “put a stop to it,” according to the Twitter account of Johnson’s predecessor, current Fox Sports analyst Mike Pereira.

Bears head coach Lovie Smith, who’s had return teams among the league’s best for a number of years, seemed unaffected by the violations and any potential fallout. In other words, it wasn’t a mistake.

“[Bears kicker] Robbie Gould … we can put it on the 35 and he can kick it out each time,” Smith said. ”We’re not really getting a good evaluation of what we can do coverage-wise on some of our players. That’s what we were trying to do with it.”

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WRITTEN BY  Doug Farrar