Sean Payton comments on NFL’s new kickoff rule: ‘It’s fun’

The NFL will have a new XFL-style kickoff rule this season.

Under the new format, NFL teams will still kick the ball from the 35-yard line, but there’s a new twist: every player on the kicking team other than the kicker will now line up with at least one foot on the returning team’s 40-yard line. Broncos coach Sean Payton is in favor of the change.

“It’s fun that we’re doing this,” Broncos coach Sean Payton said during his pre-draft press conference in April. “When I say that it’s fun, I think there’s a little unknown. I think this: The distance traveled is going to be not as far, so when you’re covering a kick, speed is fairly important as a coverage unit getting down the field and getting to the ball carrier. We’ve taken that whole group and said, ‘All right, we’re going to put you guys 10 yards away. I think certainly you could see probably a little heavier unit then.

“It’s certainly going to put a premium on your two returners because you have to have two, and then that box where you’re kicking the ball to, these guys, like third basemen, are going to have to be able to field these kicks pretty cleanly. We were for it for a lot a reasons. We have what we feel like is one of the better special teams units. We feel like last year, we made a lot of gains there. We have a good returner.”

Denver receiver Marvin Mims made the Pro Bowl as a returner last season after leading the league with 16.4 yards per punt return and ranking fourth with 26.5 yards per kickoff return. The new rule should, in theory, lead to more returns in 2024, which is good news for Mims.

Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire