Onside kick alternative 'picking up steam' around the NFL

May 22, 2020 - 1:34 am

Be honest. Your team is down by one score with under two minutes left and no timeouts. An onside kick is the only chance at regaining possession of the ball and a chance to win/tie the game.

How confident are you about getting the ball back?

Probably not confident, and rightfully so. In 2019, just 6% of all onside attempts were converted (2-of-32), which was even lower than 2018's 8% success rate.

The NFL might finally have an alternative for teams trying to get the ball back.

The Philadelphia Eagles proposed a rule change earlier this offseason that would give a team the option of an onside kick, or a 4th-and-15 play at their own 25-yard line to regain possession. A similar proposal was also made in 2018 by the Denver Broncos, which was tested at the Pro Bowl.

A team going for the 4th-and-15 play would be required to tell in-game officials of their intention, which would then be forwarded to the opposing sidelines.

Once a decision to go for a 4th-and-15 has been made, a team cannot then elect to kick on the free play. If the offense gets penalized on the play, they cannot change their minds and kickoff.

If a team going for the 4th-and-15 play do not convert, the opposition will get possession at the dead ball spot.

Multiple reports indicate the idea is gaining steam around the league.

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