New Spring Football League Ironically Abandons Unique Kickoff Format Just Days After It Was Adopted By NFL

We publish independently audited information that meets our strong editorial guidelines. Be aware we may earn a commission if you purchase anything via links on our pages.
United Football League NFL XFL Kickoff

Kickoffs are going to look very different in the NFL next season. The top professional football league in the world adopted a new format that was first implemented by the XFL last season.

Ironically, the new United Football League completely abandoned its own system.

77% of kickoffs went for touchbacks in the National Football League last season. What can be one of the most exciting plays in the sport (just ask Devin Hester) was rendered largely useless. And the rate of concussions on kickoffs that did get returned were twice as high as non-kickoff plays.

In an effort to make the kickoff relevant again, which also decreasing the amount of injuries, 29 of 32 NFL franchises voted to implement a new way of doing things. The Green Bay Packers only voted no because they wanted a trial run during the preseason.

Otherwise, most everybody was in favor of the change.

It is going to take some getting used to because it looks very different. The kicking team will line up at the opposite 35-yard-line. The receiving team will line up on its own 30.

Kicks must land between the receiving team’s 20-yard line and the goal line. Players may only begin play after the kick is fielded, or if the ball hits the ground.

A kick that lands short of the 20-yard-line or goes out of bounds will be placed at the 40-yard-line for the receiving team’s next drive. A kick that goes into the end zone will be placed at the 30.

This format was first implemented by the XFL last year. Here is an example of how it looked:

That is what kickoffs will look like in the NFL this coming fall.

Meanwhile, the UFL (a Dwayne Johnson-owned league that combined the XFL and the USFL) resorted back to the old way of doing things. Its kickoffs are completely normal.

Isn’t that funny?

The NFL adopted the XFL kickoff. The UFL abandoned the XFL kickoff.