NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans

NFL special teams coordinators have made a proposal that if approved would drastically change the kickoff in 2024, according to NFL Media

Here are the three biggest nuggets from the proposal, which would need 75 percent approval from league owners to be put into effect: 

  • Onside kicks: Teams can attempt onside kicks only in the fourth quarter and if they are trailing. 
  • A new setup zone: Kick and return teams would line up on the receiving team's 40 and 35-yard-line, respectively. Neither team could leave on the kickoff until the ball reaches the "target zone," which is the 20-yard-line to the goal line. This is similar to the kickoff the XFL employed in 2023. 
  • Touchbacks: Teams will get the ball on the 35-yard-line if the ball is kicked in the end zone. They'll get the ball at the 20-yard-line if the ball is kicked inside the "target zone" and rolls into the end zone. 

Regarding onside kicks, teams may possibly be allowed to have an unbalanced formation, which is currently not permitted. That would likely increase the rate of onside kick attempts. 

Ultimately, the NFL wants to encourage more returns while reducing high-speed collisions. Only 22 percent of kickoffs were returned in 2023. None of the 13 kickoffs in Super Bowl LVIII were returned. 

The league wants to increase kickoff returns without increasing the concussion rate. Concussions on kickoffs was the reason why the NFL recently changed its kickoff model in the first place. 

This proposal could be put to a vote at the NFL annual meeting from March 24-27.