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Eagles propose four NFL rules changes, including an onside kick alternative and overtime changes

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Yea or nay?

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles are responsible for four of the seven team-submitted playing rule changes that’ll be voted on at this year’s NFL owners meetings later this month. Here’s an overview of all seven.

1. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7, to modify the blindside block rule to prevent unnecessary fouls.

2. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to make permanent the expansion of automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any successful or unsuccessful Try attempt.

3. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1, to provide an alternative to the onside kick that would allow a team who is trailing in the game an opportunity to maintain possession of the ball after scoring.

4. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, to restore preseason and regular season overtime to fifteen minutes and to implement rules to minimize the impact of the overtime coin toss.

5. By Miami; to amend Rule 4, Section 3, Article 2, to provide the option to the defense for the game clock to start on the Referee’s signal if the defense declines an offensive penalty that occurs late in either half.

6. By Baltimore and Los Angeles Chargers; to amend Rule 19, Section 2, to add a “booth umpire” as an eighth game official to the officiating crew.

7. By Baltimore and Los Angeles Chargers; to amend Rule 19, Section 2, to add a Senior Technology Advisor to the Referee to assist the officiating crew.


The onside kick alternative and overtime adjustments are the most interesting Eagles proposals. Here’s a more detailed look at the former:

(C) As an alternative to the Free Kick a team may elect to retain possession, subject to the following rules:

(1) A team may elect to retain possession no more than two times during the game.

(2) The kicking team must notify the Referee of its intention to forego a kickoff or safety kick and retain possession. The Referee will then notify the opponent of the scoring team’s election.

(3) The ball will be spotted on the kicking team’s 25-yard line, and the kicking team will possess the ball with the down and distance being fourth and 15 (Line to gain is the kicking team’s 40-yard line).

(4) The Play Clock will be set to 25 seconds and winds on the ready for play signal. The Game Clock starts on the snap, and normal NFL timing rules apply.

(5) Standard rules for a scrimmage down apply.

(6) If the offense reaches the line to gain, the result of the play is a first down and all customary rules are in effect. If the defense stops the offense, the defense assumes possession at the dead-ball spot.

(7) If the offense is penalized on its one scrimmage down (fourth and 15), the offense cannot elect to kick off after the penalty is enforced. Example: the kicking team may not elect to kick after incurring a holding penalty on its one scrimmage down.

(8) Scrimmage kicks are prohibited.

(9) Nothing in this exception prohibits a team from attempting a legal onside kickoff under Rule 6.

Penalty: For illegal kick on a free kick down: Loss of five yards.

Effect: Permits a team to maintain possession of the ball after a score by substituting one offensive play (4th and 15 from the kicking team’s 25-yard line) for an onside kickoff attempt.

Reason: Provides excitement and competition late in the game.

I think this idea is fun and worth trying. Then again, it does give me flashbacks to Corey Graham against the Tennessee Titans in 2018.

Here’s the language on the new overtime proposal:

At the end of regulation playing time, whichever team has scored more touchdowns during regulation will have the same options as a team that wins the pregame coin toss (4-2-2). If the teams have scored an equal number of touchdowns, the Referee shall immediately toss a coin at the center of the field, in accordance with rules pertaining to a usual pregame toss (4-2-2). The visiting team captain is to again call the toss.

[...]

If the result of a kickoff is a touchback, the ball shall be spotted at the 20-yard line.

[...]

There shall be a maximum of one 15-minute period, even if the second team has not had an opportunity to possess the ball or if its initial possession has not ended. If the score is tied atthe end of the period, the game shall result in a tie.

[...]

Effect: Minimizes the effect of the overtime coin toss and extends overtime to 15 minutesin the preseason and regular season.

Reason: Competitive equity. Fan engagement.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie voiced displeasure with the NFL’s current overtime format at last year’s meetings, so it makes sense that the Eagles submitted these changes.

The Eagles have notably lost to the Dallas Cowboys in overtime twice since the 2016 season. They lost the coin toss on both occasions and never possessed the ball. If this new proposal was applied back in 2018, there would have been no toss and the Eagles would’ve had the option to receive the ball first since they scored more regulation touchdowns than Dallas did (three to two).

I do think overtime should return to 15 minutes (except in the preseason, where OT should obviously be entirely abolished). 10 minutes increases the likelihood of ties, which, who wants that?

What do you think of these proposals?