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Report: Eagles propose onside kick alternative rule change, again

Maybe it goes through this time?

Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Remember when the Eagles proposed an onside kick alternative to be voted on by NFL owners as a rule change last year? It failed to pass in May after coming up eight votes short.

But that hasn’t stopped Philadelphia from giving it another go this year. This much according to a report from Mark Maske of The Washington Post.

As a reminder, here’s exactly what the Eagles proposed last year. It’s currently unclear if there have been any modifications to the following to make it more passable (no pun intended):

(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.

Like I said last year, I don’t see why this proposal shouldn’t at least be given a trial run. Why not test it out? If the NFL can do something stupid like making pass interference reviewable as they did in 2019 simply to placate Sean Payton, why can’t they test something out that could make the game more fun?

Just do it, NFL owners.


Side note: No word yet if the Eagles are still working on getting the NFL to approve a helmet rule change to allow them to bring back their Kelly Green jerseys, likely as an alternate. Last we left off on that front was Bruce Arians (during a March 2020 interview) indicating that the change could happen in 2021.