NFL Discussing Yet More Changes To Onside Kick

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The NFL never seems to know where it wants to go with the kicking game.

Several years ago, it moved kickers back for extra points and moved them up on kickoffs. The result? More missed extra points and fewer kickoff returns.

It also messed with onside kick rules and formations to the point where everyone is just confused. That includes the kickers, the coaches and probably the rule-changers themselves.

In a nutshell, teams doing an onside kick are no longer afforded a running start. So it should come as no surprise that the league isn’t done talking about alternatives to the onside kick.

According to commissioner Roger Goodell, a variety of options are under consideration. There is a proposal that would allow a team to keep the ball, run a play, and aim to get 15 yards. If the team fails to get at least 15, the ball goes to the opponent. If the team with the ball succeeds, it will maintain possession. Just as it would do if it recovered an onside kick.

Many owners have fought against the proposal, but Goodell still indicates it isn’t dead.

“It is something we have thought, and many clubs have thought, would be an exciting addition to the game, and something I think merits a lot of discussion,” he said.

Removing the onside kick entirely for an actual play from scrimmage? Hey, at least that’s something teams would understand.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side,


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  1. The new extra point rule was a great move. Still a chip-shot kick but makes the game a lot more interesting. Not sure I like the 15 yard play though. In today’s game that seems like a pretty manageable play for an onside kick replacement. If they go from scrimmage maybe do a 20 yard play. It has to be something that’s low percentage but not damn near impossible like the new onside kick. In hockey the empty net would be the equivalent – low percentage move but gives you an actual chance.

  2. Please, please, yes, keep tinkering with what was an extremely popular game. I’d also like more stoppages for replay to tell if someone’s foot came within a pubic hair’s width of the white on second and three in a Game 9 blowout between the Bucs and the Bears. Get it right, fellas!

  3. Maybe, just maybe, hear me out on this….

    What if, instead of playing football, they just ran a Monte Carlo simulation for each game and determined the outcome statistically? That way, there would never ever be any injuries or blown calls (although you could adjust the Bad Call Coefficient in the model, obviously).

    But then, they could also just give millions of dollars to pampered athletes to not even play anymore. Of course, the athletes would still be expected to shill for hack political causes and speak out on behalf of rapists who were shot by police officers, and only a few of them could beat the shit out of their wives and girlfriends (not all of them could, that is a bad look), and of course the league could continue to lecture me about how I shouldn’t beat MY wife even though I don’t.

    Oh and in October, the computer model can have a pink font.

    How is this not a much better solution?

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