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The NFL's annual meetings will take place next week in Orlando, Florida. After years of some level of drama around the meetings -- hello, Daniel Snyder -- this year's meetings plan to be so ho-hum that the league pushed up the end date from Wednesday to Tuesday.

The biggest ticket item for these meetings will be the proposed change to the kickoff. The league saw its lowest kickoff return rate (22%) in the modern era and it was charged with figuring out an alternative. They hope they've done just that.

Sources tell me the low return rate coupled with all 13 kickoffs going for touchbacks in the Super Bowl made it imperative to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to find a solution. The league, in consultation with the competition committee and special teams coaches around the league, have devised a plan they hope three-quarters of NFL team owners will approve in the coming days.

The kickoff will resemble the XFL kickoff in most meaningful ways with some slight departures. The hope is to increase returns and reinject excitement into a play that has lost purpose.

But will NFL team owners go for it? Is it too quirky or gimmicky? That's a fear within the league. Rarely does such a radical change take place within the National Football League. But this proposal has the support of Goodell.

The league has also left itself an out, allowing for it to continue tweaking the exact language of the kickoff rule that can be voted upon at the May league meetings. Perhaps there's conversation in Orlando that forces some adjustments to the new proposal, and the NFL wants to account for that.

One smart thing most around the league have done is to stop calling it the "XFL kickoff." One of quickest ways to not get something accomplished among NFL team owners is to compare the NFL to other leagues or, worse, take ideas from a lesser professional football league. Anyone wanting this proposal to pass should Trojan Horse this one by never uttering the letters XFL near a team owner.

A concern with the new kickoff proposal is that nothing will change with the onside kick. The onside kick had a 5.2% recovery rate in 2023, the third lowest since 2001.

Now teams can only onside kick in the fourth quarter while trailing, and they have to declare when they're doing it because otherwise they'd line up in this XFL-style formation. With no changes to the onside kick, why is there any expectation the next-to-impossible-all-about-luck recovery rate will change?

As far as the hip-drop tackle goes, I think it's a great bet it will be legislated out of the game with approval from team owners. The injury rate is somewhere between 20 to 25 times higher than that of other tackles. There seems to be no one in the league office who is against this rule proposal.

Here is the exact language on the rule: "It is a foul if a player uses the following technique to bring a runner to the ground: (a) grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms; and (b) unweights himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner's leg(s) at or below the knee."

Obviously, this can be subjective. There are very obvious hip-drop tackles, and the Mark Andrews and Tony Pollard plays come to mind immediately. But there are less obvious ones, and those shades of gray will make this play difficult to properly officiate.

Officials do believe they can do it. And the league's health and safety committee knows the play has to be eradicated from the game. But the NFL Players Association is opposed to "any attempt" to implement a rule prohibiting the play.

"We cannot support a rule change that causes confusion for us as players, for coaches, for officials and especially, for fans," the union said in a statement Wednesday. "We call on the NFL, again, to reconsider implementing this rule."

Many within the league have been surprised at the union's position. From their perspective, they believe the union should look to protect the players who are getting injured. The union's point is that it must protect all players, and that includes defensive players who may now doubt how they must tackle an opponent.

I can see this rule getting the approval of owners next week but it rarely getting called on the field once the games are played. The NFL feels it has to get something on the books so it can begin to get the play out of the game, so something has to be done.

Officials would then likely apply a Supreme Court obscenity threshold test to the play: you'll know it's a hip-drop tackle when you see it, and that's when you'll throw the flag.

Here are a few other notes on rules and bylaws proposals and what I think:

The league does not want to extend games: They are very pleased with being close to 3 hours. More opportunities at coaches challenges will, in theory, make the game longer. The league believes in its replay assist and are continuing to strengthen it.

Last year, the league had 334 total replay reviews, well above the previous two-year average of 281. And the reviews lasted longer, with the average review length per game at 2 minutes and 38 seconds -- 10 seconds more than the previous two-year average. So Detroit's proposal to allow a third challenge if at least one of the previous two challenges was successful seems unlikely to pass, even if it is both well-intentioned and sensical.

And on that note, the Colts' proposal to be able to challenge any foul that occurs on the field has no chance of passing.

Steelers propose pushing trade deadline back one week to Week 9: Six teams have proposed pushing it to Week 10. It's unclear if NFL team owners will agree to move it at all, but I think Pittsburgh's proposal is the more likely one to win.

Pittsburgh's point is, since an extra game has been added, the deadline should be pushed a week. The others point to other leagues and their later trade deadlines and how the league should follow. As you read above, owners of NFL teams don't want to hear about the NBA or MLB.

The league is pleased with how officiating crews had more consistency crew-to-crew last season: One point that NFL EVP Troy Vincent brought up on a Thursday conference call is the NFL will continue to talk about improving officiating, and that includes training and identifying personnel. It'll be interesting to hear more about those efforts once we get to Orlando.

The NFL would like for video replay assist to help more on intentional grounding calls: That penalty is a drive-killer, and that means fewer points in the league. But beyond that, it takes a long time to administer the foul because of the officiating mechanics. It requires the officials to come together, talk and then assess the penalty. If replay can expedite that process in some way, the league would look to do that.