With the NFL gradually making the kickoff less and less relevant, it feels inevitable that the kickoff will be going away. And that’s probably what the NFL wanted.
Moving the kickoff from the 30 back to the 35 and moving the touchback from the 20 to the 25 reduces the number of kickoffs, making it less dramatic when the number plunges to zero. The only question left is when the number plunges to zero.
I’ve set the over-under at 2.5 years for the elimination of the kickoff. It may be wise to take the under; the new helmet rule makes it clear that the NFL continues to be obsessed with making the game safer. With the league repeatedly calling the kickoff the most dangerous play in the game, the only way to make that aspect of the game safer will be to get rid of the play altogether.
Related to the question of when is the question of what the league will use in its place. The best (perhaps only) possibility continues to be giving the team that would have been kicking off the ball on its own 30 or 35, facing fourth and 15.