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NFL may drastically alter kickoff rules to increase kick returns in 2024

Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL changed its kickoff rules before the 2023 season started. The new rule made it so players could fair catch the ball no matter which yard-marker they caught the ball at, and their team would start their possession at the 25-yard line. As expected, this led to what’s believed to be the fewest kick returns in NFL history.

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Now, the league would like to change their rules again in the hopes of resurrecting the kick return for the 2024 season.

NFL considering adapting XFL-style kickoffs in 2024

Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

According to Judy Battista of NFL.com, the league recently had a lengthy Cdiscussion about the XFL kickoff style and how it could work in the NFL too.

For those who aren’t familiar, here are the XFL’s kickoff rules:

The XFL rule requires 10 players on each team to line up five yards apart on the kickoff, with only the kicker and the returner permitted to line up elsewhere.

The theory is that since the players in such close proximity, they don’t have enough time to get up to full speed, thus leading to fewer high-speed collisions when compared to standard NFL kickoffs.

Now it’s possible we see the NFL adapt their own version of this rule, not only to keep injuries down, but to bring back the excitement that has disappeared from returning kicks.

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