Written by Ben the Pen
The NFL loves to tinker with its game, no matter how successful it is. Last season, the key rule change involved coaches challenging pass interference or non-pass interference calls.
Now, the league is looking into whether they should change the onside kick rule. The league has been making rule changes to the kickoffs, where recovering an onside kick is next to impossible.
The Philadelphia Eagles proposed a rule where when a team is trailing, can attempt a 4th-and-15th play from their own 25-yard line to retain possession instead of attempting an onside kick. If they get the 15 years, they keep possession of the ball. However, if they don't get the 15 yards, the other team would take over possession from whenever the play ended.
That rule will pass if 24 of the NFL's 32 owners vote on the proposed rule at the next virtual meeting on May 28.
Converting onside kicks have always been difficult. Last season, Atlanta kicker Younghoe Koo converted two in one game. But that's was an incredible outlier. The recovery rate was 7.5% in 2018 (4-53) and 12.5% (7 of 56) in 2019, thanks mainly to Koo.
There is another proposal headed by the LA Chargers and Baltimore that would add an umpire in the booth. In other words, this proposal would add an eighth game official to the officiating crew, but that person would be above the playing field. The two teams also proposed adding a Senior Technology Advisor to the Referee to assist the officiating crew.
The fourth-and-15 proposed rule makes a lot of sense and does add excitement to the game. Coaches can always pull out all sorts of gimmick plays and defensive backs will have to watch out for potential interference penalties. The chances of converting those 4th-and-15 plays, if the last five years (24.1%) matters, is much better than recovering an onsides kick.