WATCH: The XFL has a whole new kickoff, and here's a first look

Since it was announced that the XFL was coming back, the league has made it clear that it will work hard to distinguish its brand of professional football from that of the NFL. Videos posted on Saturday reveal that among the changes will be a different approach to kickoffs. 

The heart eyes emoji might be a bit of a stretch in terms of immediate reaction, but it certainly is novel. The XFL's take on this appears to have some basis on the idea that kickoffs have a higher level of inherent danger to them when compared to other phases of the game. This seems to be addressed with the way the two sides are set up. 

Instead of being in a tiered blocking formation, the return team is all lined up on their 30-yard line, with the kicking team set up parallel to them just five yards away, instead of starting alongside the kicker. A clip from a joint practice between the Seattle Dragons and Dallas Renegades shows the kick itself happening on the kicking team's 25-yard line, and neither side is allowed to move until the returner has possession of the ball. 

To a football purist, this might not be appealing, but it's nothing if not consistent with what the XFL has said from the beginning --  it plans on doing new things with some of the rules of the game. An ESPN report from Tuesday said that nearly two dozen changes had been made in the league's rulebook, which included special teams changes that eliminated blocking punts and pinning teams deeper than their 35-yard line while adding a three-point conversion play after a touchdown. Each of these certainly seem odd, but that seems to be what the XFL is going for. As far as that goal is concerned, the league looks like its achieving it.

Our Latest Stories