NFL owners already made a major change to the league’s schedule by voting to add a 17th game to the regular season starting in 2021. But that might not be the only major switch-up coming next fall.
The proposed change would allow teams to select an alternative, single offensive play in place of the kickoff. Teams would line-up on their own 25-yard line and need to convert a 4th and 15 in order to keep possession of the football following a score of their own.
Here’s the official wording of the rule change from the NFL’s Competition Committee:
By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1, to permit 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.
The Eagles, as previously reported, are proposing the fourth-and-15 alternative to the onside kick.
— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) April 1, 2021
The change to the onside kick rules has been proposed in each of the last two offseasons. The Eagles took the lead once again after leading the charge for the switch last year.
“The fourth-and-15 proposal, as an alternative to the onside kick, is back for reconsideration this offseason after it was tabled by the owners last May,” Mark Maske of the Washington Post wrote on Twitter in March. “It also was proposed in each of the previous two offseasons. The Eagles are proposing it for a second straight offseason.”
The proposal isn’t surprising given the lack of successful onside kicks in the league for the past few years. In 2019 only eight of 63 attempts were recovered by the kicking team. In 2020, the numbers dipped even lower with only three successful onside kicks.
The rule change will now head to the upcoming owners’ meetings where it must be approved by 75 percent (24) of the owners to be adopted.