NFL Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL fans saw fewer kickoffs returned this past season after the league decided to allow returners to get the ball at the 25-yard line on fair catches. And now, it looks like the league is attempting to reverse course to incentivize teams to return more kickoffs, along with a number of other proposed rule changes to kickoffs.

NFL special teams coordinators have been working this offseason to craft a new set of kickoff rules. If approved by league owners, kickoffs would look entirely different in the very near future.

Some of the proposed changes include kicking teams kicking off from the opponent’s 40-yard line, no players except for the kicker and returner moving until the ball is touched, and touchbacks now having the ball placed at the 35-yard line instead of the 25-yard line as it is now. 

Onside kick attempts would also be tweaked. According to Tom Pelissero, teams would only be able to attempt an onside kick while trailing in the fourth quarter. They would also need to declare their intention of attempting the onside kick to the other team before the play.

Naturally, fans had plenty of differing opinions on whether or not these rule changes would be overall positive for the game, or negative.

The intention of this potential new rule set is very clear from the NFL. They are clearly trying to make more teams return kicks, but do so in a safer way than before with less speed colliding together.

These new rules are fairly similar to the way they are done in the XFL, which has been widely regarded as a much more low-impact style of kickoffs that still finds a way for more returns to happen.

It sure seems like this new rule set will shortly be voted on by NFL owners. So whether fans like it or not, these rules could be a reality in the NFL very soon.

[Tom Pelissero on Twitter]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.