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The proposed kickoff change would revolutionize the play

The XFL is coming to the NFL. Sort of. If at least 24 teams vote for it.

The details have emerged as to the proposal that will be made to the owners later this month in Orlando. As crafted, it potentially revolutionizes the play.

Via Albert Breer of, ten members of the kicking team will line up on the opponent’s 40 yard line. Some of the members of the receiving team will be aligned five yards away, some will be up to 10 yards away.

The kick will happen from the kicking team’s 35. It will be required to land between the 20 and the goal line.

If the ball goes into the end zone, possession starts at the 35. If it doesn’t make it to the 20, possession begins at the 40. If it hits inside the 20 and rolls into the end zone, the drive starts at the 20.

No one can move (other than the kick returner, with up to two of them back for the ball) until the ball is caught or lands in the 0-20 landing zone.

The overriding goal is to remove high-speed collisions between players running in opposite directions. This approach packs everyone together, reducing the forces that will be applied, in theory. It also resurrects the kickoff as a viable, must-see play.

Still, for a league that hates (mainly because it struggles to envision) unintended consequences, this seems like something that could go a bunch of different ways. The kicking team could keep multiple players at the 40 or even drop some of them deeper into the field, giving them a chance to tackle the returner if/when he breaks through the first line of defenders.

There are so many ways this can go. Coupled with the fact that it limits the intentional onside kick to teams trailing in the fourth quarter and eliminates the surprise onside kick, the Commissioner might have some arms to twist to get to 24.

If it does pass, it surely will be a one-year rule. That will make it easier to get rid of it (nine votes versus 24) in 2025.

UPDATE 3:52 p.m. ET: A prior version of this item indicated that the ball will be kicked from the opponent’s 40 yard line. Breer now informs us that’s not the case; the kick happens at the kicking team’s 35.