NFL exec Troy Vincent suggests kickoff rule change proposal coming, won't let it become 'ceremonial play'

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Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations and former Philadelphia Eagles star, expressed support for a change in kickoffs amid a report the play was discussed over the weekend.

Vincent said Monday there was “no question” a proposal for kickoffs will be on the table in the offseason, according to The NFL competition committee met about kickoffs over the weekend, The Washington Post reported.


Troy Vincent at 2023 draft

Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent at the podium in the third round of the NFL Draft on April 28, 2023 at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri. (Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“We know we won’t go back into what we saw last year, when it became a ceremonial play,” Vincent said.”

The committee could make a proposal to alter the kickoffs to make it look more like how the XFL did in 2023, the Washington Post reported, citing a source.

The rule would need to receive 24 votes to be enacted. The NFL changed the rule last season, allowing fair catches on kickoffs. However, the Washington Post reported that rule was only made for one season.

My perspective has been that we have to keep the kickoff in the game,” Atlanta Falcons CEO Rich McKay told the newspaper. “And to do that, we have to find a way to modernize it and get that play going again, because that 20% return rate is not what was intended for that [fair catch] rule.”

Troy Vincent in England

Troy Vincent speaks during the “An Evening With…” event at Under the Bridge at Stamford Bridge on Oct. 7, 2019 in London. (Paul Harding/Getty Images for Leaders)


In the XFL, kickoffs were taken from the kicking team’s 30-yard line. The members of the kicking team lined up at the receiving team’s 35-yard line, and blockers on the receiving team line up on their own 30-yard line. Only the kicker and the returner can move until the ball is caught or 3 seconds after the ball hits the ground. Kickoffs that sail out of bounds or fall short of the receiving team’s 20-yard line move to the kicking team’s 45-yard line.

A touchback occurs when the ball travels into the end zone or bounces into the end zone. If it sails into the end zone without touching the ground, the receiving team gets the ball at the 35. If it bounces into the end zone, the receiving team gets the ball at the 15.

A team can request an onside kick. It has to travel at least 10 yards but not more than 20 yards. A team could also decide to go for the 4th-and-15 option instead of the kickoff. If they convert, they keep the ball.

Dameon Pierce celebrates

Dameon Pierce, #31, celebrates a first half kickoff return for a touchdown during the football game between the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on Dec. 24, 2023 in Houston. (Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


It is unclear which part of the XFL’s rules the NFL competition committee was considering. The XFL merged with the USFL this year to become the United Football League.

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