NFL Competition Committee Discusses XFL-Style Kickoff Rule Proposal for 2023 Season

The NFL Competition Committee discussed a proposal to change NFL kickoff rules Sunday, according to’s Judy Battista.

The XFL-style rule would mandate all players except for the kicker and returner line up five yards apart for kickoffs, as NBC Sports’ Michael David Smith previously explained.

This change would be designed to “encourage more returns, but reduce high-speed collisions,” Battista wrote.

The committee’s proposal would need approval from 24 owners in order to pass, per Battistawho said the vote could take place in March.

Battista added that the committee meeting will resume Monday.

NBC Sports’ Mike Florio reported earlier this week that the proposal is unlikely to gain the required 24 votes of approval.

A similar proposal failed earlier this month in the newly-minted United Football League, which voted to keep traditional kickoffs rather than adopt an XFL-style model for the first UFL season, per ESPN’s Kevin Seifert.

If the NFL committee decides to move forward with a proposal, the goal would be to have the new rule ready for consideration at the Annual League Meeting from March 24-27 in Orlando, Battista wrote.

The rule change would serve as an adjustment to the results of the fair catch rule approved by owners at last year’s league meetingwhich dictated that the ball should be placed on the 25-yard line following a fair catch on a kickoff.

That led to a historically low percentage of kickoff returns in Week 1, a pattern that continued all the way to the end of the season. There were no returns between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers for the first time in Super Bowl history.

The fair catch rule was “unanimously opposed” by special teams coordinators last season, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

In contrast, Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay said that special teams coaches will play a part in designing the kickoff change proposal, Battista reported.

The competition committee did not discuss rule changes regarding hip-drop tackles or the quarterback push play Sunday, according to Battistabut those topics could come up in further meetings set to take place before the March owners’ meeting.

2024-02-25 23:15:00
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