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When the NFL kicks off the 2024 season, it's going to look drastically different. Earlier this offseason, owners approved a new kickoff rule for the upcoming year, which will feature up to 19 players lining up against one another from five yards apart. The kicking team will have 10 players lining up at the receiving team's 40-yard line, while at least seven players from the receiving team must have their foot on the 35-yard line. This creates massive intrigue for how various teams will look to deploy their personnel in this new formation.

While he may not be lurking on the sidelines at the moment, Bill Belichick shared his thoughts on how this new change could impact who is actually on the field for kickoffs. 

"There will be more of an emphasis on size of players in the return game than speed," Belichick told the Pat McAfee Show, via Pro Football Talk. "You just need guys who can play at the point of attack, shed blocks, and defend their space because of the new alignment. So I think it will increase the size of the players that are on the field. And I do think that because everybody is spread across the field, if these returners, if they hit a little bit of space, they're gone."

The receiving team can put two players back as returners in the "landing zone" and because most of the action will spark between the receiving team's 40 and 35-yard line, there's going to be plenty of opportunity for returners to break loose if they can find a lane. All this is an effort to make kickoffs a meaningful play again in the NFL because, as Belichick noted, "literally 90 percent of the kickoffs were going out of the end zone." The only thing Belichick did not like about the change was that it eliminated the ability to pull off a surprise onside kick. 

Given how much of a football savant Belichick is, it is a shame that he didn't come close to landing another head coaching gig following his parting of ways with the Patriots this offseason, as he'd likely be at the forefront of trying to find ways to best approach the new kickoff. In any event, it will be fascinating to see how the rest of the league decides to attack this rule change and who they put on the field to try and exploit it.