NFL owners have approved the new hybrid kickoff rule for the 2024 season

Lions kickoff pic
Lions kickoff pic

In the past, kickoffs were exciting in the NFL and were an important part of the game. However, that has changed and they’ve become a “dead, ceremonial play.” The league is always trying to adapt and make the game better as a whole. That is why NFL owners have approved a new hybrid kickoff rue for next season. 

On Tuesday, a vote was passed to use a new kickoff rule for 2024. It’s a chance for the NFL to experiment and see if they can make kickoffs a regular part of the game again. Additionally, the league wants to ensure player health and safety. This new hybrid kickoff rule will look strange to long-time NFL fans. We’ll have to wait and see just how effective it is at the professional level.

Can the new hybrid kickoff rule help make kickoff returns a regular occurrence?

In 2023, the NFL saw the lowest kickoff return percentage they’ve ever had. That was a sign that change needed to happen this offseason. Hence the new hybrid kickoff rule was approved this morning. The NFL wants to increase the number of kickoffs per game and keep player safety as a top priority. Kickoffs in the past had led to a higher injury rate than most plays. Now, players will be closer and won’t have as much time to run down the field and build momentum.

Above, you can see two graphics in a tweet by Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. They try and explain what the new hybrid kickoff rule will look like next season. Kickoffs would remain at the 35-yard line but there would be new alignments for kicking and receiving units. Additionally, there would be a new “landing zone”. If the ball lands in that zone, a regular kickoff would happen. For more context, watch the clip below of the new hybrid rule being used in the XFL.

Former NFL linebacker Will Compton went to X after the new hybrid kickoff rule was passed. Compton thinks this will be an overall good thing for the league. He noted that it will bring more value to the players who are now used on kickoff and kick return. It’s going to be an adjustment for the league but it will help their issue with a lack of kick returns. The new rule will be debuted in the preseason.

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