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Momentum is building for XFL-style kickoff

Before the Scouting Combine, it was believed that the NFL could not get at least 24 owners to approve an XFL-style kickoff. That is now changing.

Appearing on Thursday’s PFT Live, NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent said he currently believes that momentum is building toward persuading enough owners to embrace the change.

And the change in question will largely be premised on the XFL approach (which, oddly, the combined XFL/USFL has dumped). Most players will be only five yards apart at the moment the kick is received. And returns will be incentivized, since a kick into the end zone will result in the ball being placed at the 35.

The final proposal that will be made to the owners in March is being crafted. It should be finalized later this week.

The change, if it happens, will make the kick return a relevant and viable play again. And, as Troy explained, it will make it easier for talented return specialists to get past the line of defenders.

It’s conducive to scoring. It’s conducive to improved field position. It’s conducive to resurrecting what has become a dead play.

The overriding goal was to make it safer. By taking out high-speed collisions, it should be. By finding a way to inject more returns into the play, it also will be far more exciting.