NFL owners approve kickoff proposal: Still not sure though, exactly what the new deal is???

NFL owners approve kickoff proposal
from Pro Football Rumors, with Adam La Rose and from

During the final day of the annual league meetings, NFL owners ratified the proposed changes to kickoffs, as first reported by Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. The new setup will be used for the 2024 season before being re-assessed, SI’s Albert Breer adds.

The proposal, which was to be reviewed by the league’s Competition Committee and later all owners, was finalized last week. While it was not termed an ‘XFL-style’ setup, the proposed alignment essentially mirrored that the spring league used in recent seasons. The Competition Committee unanimously approved the proposal (with a slight tweak to touchbacks in one instance), setting up today’s final vote.

As Mark Maske of The Washington Post notes, though, questions remained regarding whether or not owners would vote during the March meetings or delay a decision until May. Further lobbying from those supporting ratification was believed to be needed overnight, with The Athletic’s Kalyn Kahler reporting that five additional ‘yes’ votes would be required to succeed. In the end, the final tally was 29-3, per Jones.

All rule changes require 24 votes to pass, so support for the ‘hybrid’ kickoff setup was strong enough to attain ratification. Jones notes that the three ‘no’ votes came from the Packers, Raiders and 49ers. Several coaches and special teams coordinators have voiced trepidation over the substantial alteration that will now take effect, though, which comes as little surprise given the sweeping nature of the changes. 2024 will be marked largely by the new setup’s success (or lack thereof) in increasing return rates while reducing the high-speed collisions that make kick returns the most dangerous play in the game.

The new rules — summarized effectively ahead of the vote by ESPN’s Jeff Darlington (video link) — had the backing of commissioner Roger Goodell. The 2023 campaign (during which fair catches for kickoffs were introduced) continued the downward trend of returns, punctuated by the first-ever Super Bowl in which every kickoff resulted in a touchback. A substantial change should be expected for next season.

As ESPN’s Kevin Seifert notes, NFL return rates dropped to a record-low 21.7% last year. The XFL, by contrast, had a rate of over 90% with its setup over the two-year run, which preceded its merger with the USFL. Seifert adds that the NFL special teams coordinators who crafted the proposal aim for a return rate of at least 80% in 2024. Reaching or even approaching that figure would result in a notable spike in special teams action compared to recent years.

**********(After reading all of this, I am not sure they ever even told us what the NEW Rule is???)**********
+++++++++Never said what the XFL did on their Kickoffs last season…Maybe one of those TBA messages…++++++++++