The new NFL kickoff rules will bring some interesting takes and exciting plays to the league in 2024. The strategies that teams will deploy to try and take advantage of the new rules will be intriguing to watch. The Kansas City Chiefs have hinted at a surprise change in their kickoff personnel and Chiefs safety Justin Reid all but confirmed that.

Reid said that the Chiefs plan on using him on kickoffs rather than kicker Harrison Butker, a surprising change that will leave plenty shaking their heads. Reid explained Kansas City's line of thinking during an appearance on the Green Light podcast with two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Long last week.

“The advantage for us is that if I'm doing the job—which is what we're planning on doing—then I can fill that last gap, so it makes it a little bit easier and nobody needs to win two gaps,” Reid said, per Bleacher Report.

The Chiefs have already utilized it in practice and are excited about the prospects of limiting opposition field position and keeping Butker healthy. The 28-year-old is coming off the best season of his career.

“We're in a great place with it,” Reid said. “Although I know he can make some tackles, I think he's excited to preserve himself, and we can use him where we really need him, which is those fourth-quarter situations to go nail a 60-yard field goal and win the game. It would be devastating to try and trot a guy out there who's still nicked up from trying to make a tackle in the second quarter.”

It's an interesting strategy, but with kicking such an important part of team success, it makes sense for a team to limit the risk of injury for its kicker. Maybe the Chiefs won’t be alone.

Chiefs kicking out old plans for new opportunity

Kansas City Chiefs safety Justin Reid (20) reacts after a play against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter of Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is implementing the new kickoff rules to limit injuries and bring more action to the change of possession play. With no fair catches and touchbacks moved to the 30-yard line, kickoffs will no longer be wasted plays.

Some franchises prioritize the kicking position and those teams tend to be the most successful ones. The Chiefs are certainly one of those teams and Harrison Butker is one of those elite kickers.

Butker was nearly automatic in 2023, achieving the best season of his seven-year NFL career. He drilled all but two kicks the entire season across 21 games, including the playoffs. His only misses were two field goals in the regular season. Butker was a perfect 19-for-19 in the playoffs, including setting the Super Bowl record for longest field goal with a 57-yard boot.

Kansas City sure does keep Butker busy with their explosive offense. With new additions, the Chiefs expect to have a much-improved offense in 2024. That should give Butker plenty of opportunity to see the field despite losing his kickoff duties.

Justin Reid is no stranger to kicking and attempted two extra points for the Chiefs in 2022. He missed one and made one while knocking five of his seven kickoffs out for a touchback.

Perhaps it will not be an all-season thing and Butker will return soon enough. If the Justin Reid kicking experiment works though, the Chiefs will become an innovative franchise. At the very least, it adds intrigue to the new rules regarding a specific team.