NFL approves hybrid kickoff method for 2024 season

Mar 26, 2024, 11:15 AM | Updated: 11:38 am

Denver Broncos punter Riley Dixon (9) kicks off on a drop kick kickoff after a safety in the first ...

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 8: Denver Broncos punter Riley Dixon (9) kicks off on a drop kick kickoff after a safety in the first quarter during a game between the New York Jets and the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on October 8, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

NFL kickoffs as we know it are no more, at least for 2024 that is.

The NFL has approved a new kickoff method for the 2024 NFL season Tuesday. The new, hybrid method is being implemented from the XFL as a safer alternative for players. League officials have been looking to improve the now “ceremonial” play over the last few years, hoping the overhaul will lead to more action for fans.

While the bill goes into effect immediately, it’s on a one-year trial, with further dialogue expected to take place.

The new kickoff will take place with the kicker kicking the football from their team’s 40-yard-line to start the play. Changes will occur with the kickoff start line and the set up zone for the receiving team. The former will now line up at their opponents’ 40-yard-line, while the receiving team will be at the 30-yard-line. The kicking team can progress toward the return man only when he has receiving the football. 

NFL officials have been looking into new ways to innovate kickoffs, looking to increase the amount of returns on the play. Kick returns have decreased in recent years, forcing the NFL to take action.

“I think we’re still going to have to tinker with it. But I think it’ll be a big improvement and bring the play back to being a relevant play,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday. “I think we can do it so the injury rate will drop.”

NFL teams approved the new method on a 29-3 vote. The only teams to vote against the new kickoff rules were the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers and Las Vegas Raiders.

NFL approves new Trade Deadline Date

The kickoff was the only thing changed this week, with a new trade deadline coming into effect next season.

The NFL has approved moving the trade deadline to after Week 9, moving the date back one week. In 2024, the new date (Nov. 5th), falls on Presidential Election Day, making our calendars more chaotic for the end of 2024. 

The new deadline date was proposed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, with a majority of teams approving the move. Their was also a motion to move the deadline another week to Week 10, but that was voted against. 

For more information on all new league rules for 2024, click here.

Key offseason dates for the San Francisco 49ers

  • March 24-27 – Annual league meeting in Orlando
  • April 25-27 – 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit

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