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Throughout the 2023 NFL season, there was a record-low number of kickoff returns attempted, including zero kickoff return attempts in the Super Bowl LVIII showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. And it sounds like the NFL is committed to changing that.

This week, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent made it clear that there is “no question” that there will be a proposal to change the format of kickoffs this offseason.

“We know we won’t go back into what we saw last year, when it became a ceremonial play,” Vincent said according to Judy Battista of NFL Media.

As for what these changes could be, Battista also reported that the NFL was considering adopting a kickoff format similar to the one that was used in the XFL.

“Competition Committee discussed at length the XFL kickoff. A source says there could be a proposal for a March vote on a version of the XFL model as a way to address the kickoff — too few returns this season. NFL wants to keep the return in the game, while making the play safer,” Battista said in a post on X, the social media website that was formerly known as Twitter.

“The XFL kickoff model has KO and return teams lined up 5 yards apart, well down the field from the kicker. The NFL could put together a version of that for consideration this spring. In 2023, only about 20 % of kickoffs were returned,” Battista said in a follow-up post.

We’ll have to see what the league decides to do, but it’s pretty clear that nobody is content with kickoffs the way they currently exist.

[Judy Battista]