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Roger Goodell says NFL needs to "find a way to keep the kickoff in the game"

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell does not want to do away with kickoffs.

As the NFL has increasingly focused on the risks of injuries in recent years, there's been some sentiment around the league that kickoffs should simply be eliminated. But Goodell was adamant at his press conference today that the kickoff isn't going away.

"I thought this rule was necessary for the one year because we need to innovate," Goodell said. "To find a way to keep the kickoff in the game. It's an exciting play, it's important for us, the same as punts, but when you see a higher injury rate for that play, you can't ignore that."

The XFL-style low-impact kickoff seems to be gaining momentum as a radical rules change that would keep the kickoff in place, allow for the excitement of returns, but reduce the high-speed collisions that cause the most serious injuries. Under the low-impact kickoff rule, 10 players on each team line up five yards apart, with no running stars, and the XFL found that kickoff returns increased while injuries decreased. That's one way the NFL could keep the kickoff in the game, make it safer, and make it more exciting.