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Some of the most exciting plays from Super Bowl LVIII involved the foot.

San Francisco kicker Jake Moody set a Super Bowl record with a 55-yard field goal that lasted until the next quarter when Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker nailed a 57-yarder. And the game turned on a muffed punt in the third quarter that hit off the foot of 49ers special teamer Darrell Luter Jr.

But for all the drama surrounding the foot, there was absolutely none with the kickoff. The two teams kicked off a total of 13 times, and not a single one was ever returned out of the end zone. Thirteen kickoffs, 13 touchbacks.

Two months ago, NFL EVP of football operations Troy Vincent called the kickoff a "dead, ceremonial play," and that couldn't have been more true in the NFL's crown jewel event. The officials may as well have placed the ball at the 25-yard line and blew the whistle rather than boring the 22 players and more than 120 million Americans with the perfunctory kick.

The NFL has been actively trying to figure out ways to adjust the kickoff that reduces injuries -- specifically concussions -- while still serving as a necessary and exciting play in the course of the game. The league has succeeded in its first mission, but fewer kickoffs are being returned than ever. And sources tell CBS Sports the sentiment is there's no leading alternative right now to solve the issue of the disappearing kickoff return.

Last offseason, NFL team owners approved a resolution that allows players to fair-catch a kickoff that would result in the ball being placed at the 25-yard line. In the 2023 regular season, kickoff returns dropped dramatically. In 2022, 38% of kickoffs were returned compared to just 22% in the 2023 regular season.

NFL kickers had gotten almost too good at hanging the ball inside the 10-yard line to encourage a return. And the league saw its injury data spike in 2022, causing the NFL to force a rule change.

The league anticipated that returns would drop from 38% to 31%, according to internal modeling. But they severely underestimated that number, and the league office is concerned about the lack of returns.

Concussions sustained on kickoffs did drop from 20 to eight, which is a positive sign. However, league officials said that where there were returns, there were still concussions.

The issue facing the league and the competition committee is finding a good alternative. At this point, there doesn't seem to be a lot of support for the XFL rule that has 10 players line up 5 yards apart and start their action after the returner has secured the kick.

The XFL option has the kicker kicking off from his own 30 with the 10 players on each side at the opponent 35. The returner fields it and then the 20 players can move, with the intention that there would be fewer high-collision impacts.

"It's not an aesthetically good-looking play. It looks gimmicky," one NFL player told CBS Sports. "But I don't know how else you limit concussions in a dramatic way without slowing the play down."

Eliminating the kickoff altogether is not something the league has shown any interest in. The play also has to remain in the game for the sake of an onside kick, which has seen its recovery numbers decline in recent years as well.

The XFL option would eliminate the ability to run an onside kick without another alternative. There's been no movement with NFL team owners in recent years to adopt a fourth-and-15 play that could replace the onside.

The competition committee plans to discuss all things special teams at their annual meeting at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis later this month, sources say. Perhaps new ideas could come about there to present to team owners later this spring for what could be a vote to make the kickoff relevant again in the NFL.