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Over the past 15 years, the NFL has made some major changes to the kickoff rule. Another one could be coming in 2024, and this would be the biggest one yet. 

According to the Washington Post, the NFL is currently taking a look at the XFL kickoff model, and there's a chance that the kickoff rule from the XFL could be implemented for the upcoming season. There's no guarantee the rule will get approved, but the NFL is considering it. 

If you've never seen an XFL kickoff, it's dramatically different from an NFL kickoff. The kicker stands by himself at the 30-yard while his other 10 teammates stand at the opponents' 35-yard line. The receiving team has to put 10 players at their own 30-yard line -- just five yards away from the kicking team's players -- and then one player is lined up deep to receive the kick. No one is allowed to move until the returner has fielded the kick.  

This would be a major rule change for the NFL, but it wouldn't be a total surprise to see the league implement it. The NFL has been slowly modifying the kickoff over the past 15 years in an effort to make it safer. 

In 2011, the NFL moved the kickoff spot from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line in an effort to get more touchbacks with the hope that it would lead to fewer collisions. In 2016, the NFL once again encouraged more touchbacks by giving the receiving team the ball at the 25-yard line instead of the 20-yard line if they took a knee in the end zone. 

Last season, the NFL enhanced that rule by allowing teams go call for a fair catch on kickoffs. Any kickoff that was fielded inside the 25-yard line would be moved out to the 25-yard line as long as a fair catch was called. 

The fair-catch rule was a one-year trial rule that was implemented for the 2023 season only. The NFL could approve the rule for another year or it could decide to make a dramatic change for 2024, like adding the XFL kickoff rule. 

According to Rich McKay, the chairman of the NFL's competition committee, all of these kickoff rules have been implemented in an effort to make the kickoff safer. 

"The kickoff play for us has been a play that has had a lot of changes for us over the years, all really driven by health and safety," McKay said last May. "The concussion rate on the play has gone up. It's gone up because the ball is being returned more by kicks that are being hung inside the 5-yard line."

According to the Washington Post, the NFL saw a 60% reduction in kickoffs with the new rule in 2023, so it's certainly possible the league could keep the fair-catch rule and forget the XFL rule. 

That being said, if the XFL rule does get implemented, the NFL will have to make a second rule change, and that's because the XFL rule eliminates onside kicks. In the XFL, the kicking team is penalized if they don't kick it past the opponent's 20-yard line, which effectively makes onside kicks impossible. The XFL solved this problem by giving the teams the option of attempting a fourth-and-15 play from their own 25 to keep possession. 

The NFL has actually considered implementing a similar rule over the past few years, but owners have yet to approve it. 

If the owners aren't willing to approve the fourth-and-15 play, then they'll have to come up with something different because it won't be possible to attempt an onside kick if the NFL decides to utilize the XFL's kickoff rule.