Skip to main content
#pounditSaturday, April 13, 2024

NFL could adopt variation of XFL kickoff format?

Roger Goodell in Europe for an NFL game

Nov 10, 2022; Munich, Germany; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reacts during an NFL Flag Football community event at the FC Bayern Campus. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL could adopt a variation of an XFL rule this offseason.

According to Judy Battista of NFL Network, the NFL’s Competition Committee recently had an extensive discussion about the XFL’s kickoff format. There could be a proposal next month to vote on implementing a version of the XFL kickoff in order to encourage more returns, which were down significantly in 2023.

XFL rules require 10 players on each team to line up five yards apart on the kickoff. Only the kicker and returner are lined up elsewhere. The format makes it so players are not running a long distance before they collide with one another, resulting in fewer high-speed collisions.

Battista notes that the NFL wants to encourage more returns, as there were only returns on 20% of kickoffs and free kicks (after safeties) last season. If the NFL adopts a variation of the XFL format, the return rate could increase while, in theory, keeping injury numbers lower than they were before the current rules were implemented.

The NFL has made several rules changes to kickoffs in recent years, with the goal being to reduce concussions and other injuries. In 2011, the league moved the kickoff from the 30-yard line to the 35, which led to more touchbacks. Then in 2016, the NFL made it so a touchback would give the offense the ball at the 25-yard line instead of the 20. This past season, the NFL implemented a rule allowing a returner to call for a fair catch on a kickoff behind the 25-yard line and still have the ball placed at the 25.

We have seen some kickoff proposals that did not receive the required votes in recent years, but an XFL-style kickoff might make a lot of sense for the NFL.

Load more
Exit mobile version