The Philadelphia Eagles’ proposal to adopt an onside kick alternative was reportedly gaining steam last week but 75% of NFL owners ultimately did not pass the measure. The MMQB’s Albert Breer was first to report the news.
Such a development comes as unwelcome news to the majority of BGN readers:
As a refresher, here’s exactly what the Eagles were proposing:
(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.
As my BGN Radio co-host Jimmy Kempski pointed out on PhillyVoice, there was reason to believe the proposal passing would’ve been good news for the Eagles. But, alas, it won’t be happening. Hopefully the league will revisit it again in the future. The regular onside kick has kinda become worthless.
Even if proposed 4th-and-15 alternative passes today, traditional onside kick would still be allowed. But it’s harder to recover under current rules: 49 of 299 in 2013-17 (16.3%), 12 of 114 in 2018-19 (10.5%). This is a response to that, not a precursor to eliminating kickoffs.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 28, 2020
It’s dumb to me how the NFL is so against something that could make the game more fun and interesting while also being so quick to implement Sean Payton’s plea to make pass interference reviewable last year. At least they scrapped that BS moving forward. But if owners can give that garbage a trial run, why can’t they do the same with an idea that’s clearly less worse?
UPDATE: More details on the voting results. The Eagles were eight votes shy of their proposal passing.
The vote on Philly's proposal for the 4th-and-15 alternative to the onside kick was 16-16, I'm told. So not particularly close to passing. It takes 24 votes to pass.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 28, 2020
But that IS progress from where the idea was last year.