NFL Reportedly In Talks To Potentially Implement The XFL Kickoff | USFL

NFL Reportedly In Talks To Potentially Implement The XFL Kickoff

According to Kevin Seifert of ESPN, the XFL is reportedly having conversations with the NFL regarding the potential use of the unique and innovative kickoff rules the league debuted back in 2020.

The XFL introduced their version of the kickoff in 2020, with the genius of Sam Schwartzstein who played a major role in its creation.

Since then, the XFL kept the same style for its inaugural 2023 season, where fans were treated to plenty of entertainment throughout the year. The XFL made an effort to increase the amount of returns in the game of football, and achieved that successfully with over 90% of kicks being returned in 2023.

XFL-NFL Meeting

Kevin Seifert reports that there was a recent XFL-NFL meeting that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell attended. This is major news, and shows that the NFL is quite interested in continuing to work with these alternative spring football leagues, such as the XFL.

Obviously, the NFL wants to keep the concussion rates down. The kickoff is one of the plays in the game that tends to cause the injury, which is why the league is so intent on making adjustments. The NFL is intrigued by the XFL’s version of the kickoff, and for good reason. It allows for safer returns, while maintaining the full excitement of kickoff action.

In the XFL, the kicker is all alone as he sends it away. The returning team – and opposing team – are lined up just five yards apart (35, 30), and cannot move until the ball is fielded by the returner.

Rich McKay, Chairman of the NFL Competition Committee, had this to say about the development:

“I remain optimistic that we can find creative solutions, whether it’s a version of the XFL or a reboot of this play…We can find variations that continue to evolve this play and keep this play in the game, but I think we have to be open to the idea that the answer can’t be, ‘Let’s just do it the way we’ve done it.’ That just isn’t a good answer when the data says otherwise.”

The kickoff isn’t the only XFL innovation that the NFL is looking at. According to Seifert’s report, the meeting included “other rule innovations” that were discussed as well.

This development is not something we will see in the 2023-2024 NFL season, as the NFL has already introduced a couple of its own adjustments. However, these conversations are a tell tale sign that change is on the horizon, and could come sooner than we think.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, it’s evident that the XFL kickoff changed the game of football. While some might see it as “gimmicky”, those who stuck with it throughout the season got to see the full picture. The adjustment is necessary for player safety.

In addition, kickoffs are simply one of football’s most entertaining plays. The XFL had no shortage of exactly that. An example came in week seven, when San Antonio Brahmas WR Fred Brown took a kick 96 yards to the house:

With one full season in the XFL’s rearview mirror, the focus now shifts to season two – and beyond. With these relationships developing among the NFL and its executives, it goes to show that spring football is making a legitimate impact on the game at the highest level.

In other news, the XFL has officially sent 54 of its players to NFL teams. Clearly, the NFL is closely watching the league, and its athletes.

What are your thoughts on the NFL potentially adopting an XFL kickoff? Which rules should the NFL also look to bring in? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!