Major NFL Changes Are in Store for the 2024 Season

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past few days, many NFL executives, owners, and coaches have been in Orlando, Florida, for the league’s owners meetings.

These meetings have given the league’s higher-ups a chance to discuss new rules and scheduling formats for the 2024 season. In the aftermath of these meetings, it appears that a few major NFL changes are coming to the league in 2024.

The Major NFL Changes for the 2024 NFL Season

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Apr 28, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell looks on during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater. Mandatory Credit: Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Kick Returns Change Again

For a more detailed look at the latest changes to kick returns, check out this other article on our site. In essence, though, the NFL has decided to completely revamp the play in order to encourage more returns while also attempting to make the play safer.

The biggest change revolves around the alignment of players on the field. 10 Players on the kickoff team will now line up at the returning team’s 40-yard line while at least nine players on the returning team will line up between the 30 and 35-yard lines. However, no player other than the kicker and returner can move until the ball either hits the ground or is caught in an attempt to eliminate full-speed collisions between defenders and blockers.

Meanwhile, a maximum of two players can line up in the “landing zone” between the goal line and the 20-yard line. Kickers are being enticed not to boot the ball through the end zone anymore, either, seeing as a touchback on a return will result in the ball being placed on the return team’s 35-yard line rather than the 25.

Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Kene Nwangwu. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Trade Deadline Pushed Back

Typically, the NFL trade deadline has occurred on the Tuesday following Week 8 of the regular season. However, that is being pushed back a week this year and will occur on the Tuesday after Week 9 instead. As a result, the trade deadline this year will occur on November 5th rather than October 29th.

A motivator behind this change seems to be the fact that the NFL never adjusted the deadline when they initially changed from a 16 to a 17-game schedule. Kevin Patra of wrote: “When the league moved to a 17-game schedule for the 2021 season, the trade deadline wasn’t adjusted to accommodate the elongated season. The 2024 rule, which was submitted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, restores the deadline to its more centralized timetable.”

NFL Changes
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has become known for his trading prowess throughout his early career as a GM, and this year, he will have an extra week to mull over trades.

Christmas Day Double-Header

The only NFL game to be played on a Wednesday since 1948 came during the 2020 Covid season when the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers had to have their matchup rescheduled because of virus outbreaks.

This year, we will have not one, but two, games on a Wednesday because a Christmas Day double-header has been scheduled. Art Stapleton tweeted, “The NFL is going to have a doubleheader on Christmas Day, which is a Wednesday this year.”

The teams that will play during this doubleheader are yet to be announced. The Vikings last played on Christmas Day back in 2020.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.