NFL Report: Support Growing for Proposed Onside Kick Alternative

Jordan Cohn
May 21, 2020 - 2:09 pm

A rule change established after the 2017 season prevented players from getting a running start on kickoffs. One of the major effects was that onside kicks became a whole lot harder.

They weren't easy to begin with, but according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, the difficulty increased drastically. Success, Smith said, fell from 21% to 6% after the rules were established.

However, it appears the NFL is working on a solution. NFL reporter Tom Pelissero reported Thursday that the league had sent rule change proposals to each team, and among the ideas was an alternative to the onside kick for teams looking to get the ball back.

This isn't the first we've heard of this rule, as it was implemented in the 2020 Pro Bowl. We saw it in action on only one occasion, and it didn't exactly result in the exciting outcome fans could have hoped for. The NFC exercised the option, behind 38-33, but Kirk Cousins tossed an interception to Earl Thomas as a result in the fourth quarter.

Pelissero also noted that teams would not be able to attempt this more than twice in a game. If a team is down 21 with just minutes remaining and happens to convert on some 4th-and-15 opportunities, they're going to have to attempt an onside kick at some point in order to keep their miraculous comeback alive. But for a team down one score, this might indeed be the better option.

The Falcons may not opt to use the rule too often, as kicker Younghoe Koo was two for three in onside kick attempts in 2019. But for every other team that has had to deal with the struggles of the onside kick, this option could be much more enticing should it become an official rule. According to Team Rankings, the Broncos, the Cardinals and the Chiefs were the top three teams in fourth-down conversion success, and the Falcons and Ravens rounded out the top five.

Follow RADIO.COM Sports
Twitter | Facebook I Instagram

Comments ()