The NFL once again got to see the XFL’s unique kickoff rule in play and it has them thinking once again about bringing it over to the big league.
In 2022, the XFL announced its plans to serve as a “petri dish” for NFL innovation, offering its platform to experiment with proposed rules, test new equipment, and develop prospective officials and coaches.
When it comes to the kickoff, the kicker lines up at his 30-yard line, with the other 10 members of the kickoff team lining up at the opponent’s 35, which is 5 yards away from the returning team. Only the kicker and one returner can move until the ball is fielded. Touchbacks are spotted at the 35-yard line.
According to Pro Football Talk, the NFL wants a piece of this action.
“The NFL is exploring XFL data regarding the play,” Mike Florio reported Wednesday. “The overriding goal is to reduce the potential for concussions … by shrinking the distance between opposing players. The XFL rule leaves only 5 yards of space for players to cover before contact, keeping them from getting to top speed.”
Currently, NFL teams kick off from their own 35-yard line, and kicking-team players can begin running from that line only after the ball has been kicked.
It’s unclear when the NFL might go through with voting for this change and when they may implement it down the line. If they care about player safety like they say they do, this should be talked about as soon as next offseason and voted on.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this offseason that NFL executives anticipated pushback to kickoff rule changes but is confident that data from the NCAA’s own implementation of fair-catch rules enhances player safety.
The XFL’s rule was one of many that was kept from the league’s 2020 incarnation, and it has successfully achieved its objective of increasing returns and lowering the incentive for touchbacks while avoiding the high-speed collisions that made the conventional kickoff so deadly.
WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.