NFL Adopts XFL-Style Kickoff Rules as Eagles Prep for Brazil Opener

The NFL is introducing new kickoff rules for the 2024 season, inspired by the XFL's 2023 playbook, to increase excitement and entertainment value. The Philadelphia Eagles will face the Green Bay Packers in the NFL's first-ever game in Brazil on September 6, marking the league's global expansion efforts.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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NFL Adopts XFL-Style Kickoff Rules as Eagles Prep for Brazil Opener

NFL Adopts XFL-Style Kickoff Rules as Eagles Prep for Brazil Opener

The National Football League (NFL) is set to introduce significant changes to its kickoff rules for the 2024 season, taking a page from the XFL's 2023 playbook. As teams prepare for the new rules, the Philadelphia Eagles' special teams coordinator, Michael Clay, is hard at work getting his players ready for their season opener against the Green Bay Packers on September 6 in Brazil.

The new kickoff rules aim to increase the excitement and entertainment value of kickoffs, which had become somewhat of a bore in recent years. In the 2023 season, the touchback rate on kickoffs reached a staggering 78%, leading to fewer returns and less thrilling plays. The XFL's 2023 kickoff rules, which the NFL is using as a model, resulted in a 97% kickoff return rate, although only one kickoff was returned for a touchdown.

"The great thing about it is 31 other teams are in the same boat in terms of that. We have spent a good amount of time not taking away from other aspects because obviously it's a new rule, you have to get used to it," Clay said. He believes there will be a lot of strategy involved in kickoff placement, with kicker Jake Elliott and punter Braden Mann potentially using specialty kicks to help the Eagles' kickoff coverage unit.

The return aspect of kickoffs under the new rules is still uncertain, with Clay considering a long list of candidates to handle the job. The Eagles' opening game against the Packers in Brazil adds an extra layer of intrigue, as it marks the NFL's first-ever venture into the South American country. The NFL International Series began in London in 2007 and has since expanded to Mexico and Germany in 2016 and 2022, respectively, with a game set to be played in Spain in 2025.

The matchup between the Eagles and Packers will feature two young, prominent quarterbacks in Jalen Hurts and Jordan Love, adding to the excitement surrounding the game. Both teams made the playoffs last year and have strong fan bases, making them ideal candidates for the NFL's global expansion efforts. The league's goal is to substantially increase the game's exposure worldwide, following in the footsteps of the MLB and NBA, which have been playing regular season games in other countries for many years.

As the NFL continues to evolve its rules and expand its global reach, the 2024 season opener in Brazil serves as a testament to the league's commitment to growing the game internationally. With the new kickoff rules in place and teams like the Eagles and Packers leading the charge, fans can expect an exciting and transformative season ahead.

Key Takeaways

  • NFL introduces new kickoff rules for 2024 season, inspired by XFL's 2023 rules.
  • New rules aim to increase excitement and returns, with a goal of reducing touchbacks.
  • Eagles' special teams coordinator Michael Clay is preparing players for new rules.
  • NFL's 2024 season opener will be played in Brazil, marking the league's first game in South America.
  • The game will feature young QBs Jalen Hurts and Jordan Love, and is part of the NFL's global expansion efforts.