NFL Pro Bowl To Test Out An Alternate To The Onside Kick
NFL Onside kicks were recovered by the kicking team at a 21% from the first one history up until the end of the 2017 season.
The league changed kickoff rules in 2018 for safety reasons, dropping the recovery rate to 7.7% in 2017 and 12.9% this season.
With the Pro Bowl taking place this Sunday in Orlando, the league will try out a few new rules, most notably, an alternative to the onside kick.
For starters, there will be no kickoffs in the game. If a team scores, they can either give the opposition the ball at their own 25 yard line, or, they can attempt a 4th and 15 play from their own 25 yard line. If successful, they keep the ball from the spot of the first down. If unsuccessful, the opponent takes over at he dead ball spot.
The rule feels more XFL than NFL, but it could be a good idea.
My concern is officials calling a bad PI or defensive holding call on the 4th and 15 (onside alternative) and giving a trailing team an opportunity they don't deserve.
The only penalties typically called on an onside kick is offsides by the kicking team, illegal touching by the kicking team (touching ball before it travels 10 yards), or a kick out of bounds. In every instance, the receiving team gets the ball.
An alternative 4th and 15 play from a team's own 25 yard line has a far greater chance of aiding the offensive team by penalty than an onside kick does for a kicking team.