NFL

How the Recently Proposed Onside Kick Rule Would’ve Changed the NFL

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 28: Younghoe Koo #7 of the Atlanta Falcons kicks an onside kick during the second half of an NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The NFL recently tabled a rule that would’ve changed the way NFL games may end.

Many times, NFL teams try to mount a comeback late in the game. They score a touchdown and are only down by seven with a minute left. What do they do?

Perform an onside kick. 

The onside kick has always been the go-to play in a time of desperation on a kickoff. The issue is that because the onside kick is so hard to convert, it rarely results in a recovery. In the 2017-2018 season, there were 12 onside kicks recovered of the 57 onside attempts. This is a whopping 21% which is nothing compared to the 2018-2019 season. There were 79 attempts and only five recoveries, an abysmal 6%.

Onside Kick Past Proposals

Two years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles submitted a proposal to change the ways of an onside kick. It would no longer be a kick. Rather, it would be an offensive possession that each team could use twice in a game. The “kicking” team’s offense would get the ball at the 25-yard line. They would be in a 4th and 15 situation. If the offensive team gets the first down, they would retain possession. If not, the defense would get the ball wherever the offense failed to reach the first down marker.

With the defense getting the ball wherever the offense fails to convert, it would most likely leave them anywhere between the opponents 25 and 40-yard line. Typically, the kicking team receives an onside kick around their own 40-yard line.

In the end, they are both high-risk high reward situations. Yet it is easier for a quarterback to make a 15-yard pass than a kicker to get the perfect kick.

NFL owners tabled the first proposal. They just looked at another proposal, and yet again they tabled it last Thursday.

This new rule would make the come from behind victory attempts more interesting. It would also increase the safety on kickoffs. The NFL tried out this method in the Pro Bowl because of the low stake situations.

The question is, how long will it take for the NFL to change the onside kick rule? Or, will they ever? If NFL executives added this to the game, it could change team strategies. Maybe we will see the rule established in the next few years.

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