February 20, 2024

For the first time, the Super Bowl had no kickoff returns

Super Bowl LVIII was emblematic of a 2023 NFL season wherein kickoff returns have been largely phased out of the sport.

Not a single kickoff was returned between the Chiefs and the 49ers, making it the first Super Bowl with none kickoff returns.

It’s not that there weren’t alternatives: There have been a complete of 13 kickoffs in the sport. But all 13 of the went for touchbacks.

NFL guidelines have more and more incentivized touchbacks, as the league has modified guidelines to reduce the variety of full-speed collisions gamers have on kickoff returns. A Super Bowl with 13 kickoffs and 0 kickoff returns is the pure consequence of NFL rule adjustments in recent times.

But that is likely to be altering: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell mentioned final week that the league must discover a method to keep the kickoff in the game, reasonably than flip it into an irrelevant play that ultimately will get eradicated. The league is exploring guidelines that may convey kickoff returns again, with out growing accidents, akin to the XFL-style low-impact kickoff.

So this was the first Super Bowl and not using a kickoff return, and it may also be the final.