John Mara is only Competition Committee member opposed to onside kick alternative

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The “fourth-and-15” alternative to the onside kick appears to have a good chance of passing at this week’s owners’ meeting.

That’s because Giants owner John Mara told reporters that he is the only member of the competition committee opposed to the proposal, which would allow teams to choose not to kick off after a fourth-quarter score and instead attempt one offensive play from their own 35-yard line. If that play goes for 15 yards, the team keeps the ball. Other than Mara, the rest of the competition committee is in favor of the idea.

For the new rule to be implemented, at least 24 owners would have to vote for it. It’s possible the owners will vote it down, but usually a rule proposal that has the support of a large majority of the competition committee gets support from the owners as well.

Still, some old-school owners hate anything that comes across as gimmicky, and that’s what Mara thinks of the onside kick alternative.

“What are we, the Arena Football League?” Mara said of the rule.

That mindset is why the NCAA had two-point conversions decades before the NFL did: Some owners, particularly those from the families that have owned teams for more than half of the NFL’s 100 seasons, are reluctant to change rules. If eight or more owners agree with Mara, the onside kick will remain the only way for losing teams to get the ball back after scoring in the fourth quarter.

87 responses to “John Mara is only Competition Committee member opposed to onside kick alternative

  1. “What are we, the Arena Football League?” Mara said of the rule.
    ******************
    Some NBA people said the same thing when considering the ABA’s 3 point shot. Nothing’s changed the game more since integration, except maybe the shot-clock.

  2. Why do they keep messing with/needing to change the game? And why are they so opposed to anything having to do with feet? It is *foot*ball, no?

  3. I agree with him. Stop ruining the game we all grew up playing. These guys know the risks that comes with the sport. That’s why the earn the big bucks!

  4. Instead, restore the old kickoff rules that made a successful onside kick more likely.

  5. He’s not wrong. It is a gimmick to give a losing team another chance to come back and steal a win. At least the onside kick is consistent with regular football rules.

  6. so now we can have the zebras call a PI on 4th and 15.Well thought out guys. First coach who loses a game after a TD is called back for PI ,head will explode.

  7. this will be instituted until the patriots use it to win a game they would surely have lost. then it will be changed back the next day. 4th & 15 isnt a big deal to the GOAT.

  8. That is way to short. I would be on board if it was 4th and 25, plus the distance left on the prior down.

  9. I agree with him completely. The NFL needs to ask if millennials will ever love football enough to be worth the risk of alienating all their older fans who actually buy season tickets with all these silly rule changes. No matter how hard you try, you will never legislate injuries out of sports– they are quite simply part of the game, like it or not. Bring back the old kickoff rules. We want to watch the game we all grew to love, not seven ons even passing drills in shorts and t-shirts.

  10. Compared to the option now the current onside. It’s a good idea but then it also puts the game in the refs hands to call a BS penalty for pass interference. Then what they get to keep the ball. Here’s the best idea let’s go back to all the rules and play we had in the late 90’s. When football was watchable. And games were decided by which team came out and played best.

  11. The 4th and 15 would discriminate against running teams. I think they should make it a 4th and 5 to get possession of the ball. That way its equal for all teams no matter what type of offense you run. Otherwise it’s a good change of the rules to make football more modern

  12. I have to agree with Mara as well. You are giving the losing team an extra possession, even if it might be just one play, which gives the losing team an unfair advantage. The odds of executing a 4th and 15 is much easier in the new hands off, cater to the offense era, than an onside kick would be

  13. Nothing like a defensive holding on 4th and 15………. much easier to accomplish than the original onside kick. The league screwed it up, and now they want make it worse.

  14. opens a huge can of worms, with PI potential, giving refs even more control of outcome of games-not what most fans would want i would think, but seeing some comments? mayhap I am incorrect, wouldn’t be the first time, certainly won’t be the last

  15. Teams that deserve to win games prove it in the first 59+ minutes of the game, not at the last second with rules designed to favor the team that is behind.

  16. Pocari Sweat says: “It is such a bad idea. It’s too achievable. Onside plays should be a 15% likelihood. Make it 4th and 25.”
    ====================

    The NFL 4th-and-15 conversion rate is 12%, similar to the onside kick under old rules. The 3rd-and-25 conversion rate is close to 0.

  17. I agree with Mara.
    Why change just for the sake of change?
    The proposal IS gimmicky plus what will the media say when more of their precious players get hurt as a result of the new rule?
    Hypocrisy will rule that day and the NFL owners will have EVERY right to say “we told you so” to the media.

  18. So team A is up 17 to 3 with 10 minutes to go in the game. Team B puts up a 14 play 8 minute drive to score a touchdown. Team A has to go back on defense with only a short break to defend a team that is now in rhythm? Yeah that seems fair to the team that has controlled the entire game.

  19. Sounds like a gimmick but then again they need these things to keep fans engaged.

  20. devilsmetsgiants says: “Why is this even a thing? Fixing something that isn’t broken.”
    ———————

    Just because you ignore it, concussions aren’t going away on their own.

    You may be fine with other people risking their lives for your ENTERTAINMENT, but parents aren’t going to let their kids play football if safety is not addressed now. These kids are the future NFL employees, and the league is doing this to keep football alive for the next generation.

  21. I kind of like the change but think it should be a longer distance. Onsides kicks have always had a low success rate and if they make this change I think it should also lean towards being highly difficult to succeed. Make it 4th and 20 at the least. Too many teams give up 4th and 15 on a regular basis in games now. The team with the lead should have much higher odds in their favor to being able to stop the play.

  22. It’s an exciting time to be a NFL fan, with all the rules that have changed or will change in the near future. The game is becoming so much more modern! Out with the old, and in with the new! Times are changing, and so should we.

  23. We don’t want to see grandpa’s old smash mouth football. This is a new era. We want to see high powered offenses battle it out and we want to see fair rules that give every team an equal chance to win no matter how talented each team is. The NFL gets it, and so should you guys! Welcome to the new millennium!

  24. Terrible idea hate almost every change they’ve made for years. The constant softening of the game that barely resembles football as it is.

  25. So … they’ll consider eliminating the onside kick and changing the overtime rules, but won’t consider putting a replay official in the booth to ensure the game is called correctly? Yeah, that makes perfect sense. 🙄

  26. I’d love to see the stats on how many 4 and 15 (or longer) plays are converted.
    It’s not the same as simply counting the number of 15 yard plays because this one you have to make to keep the ball — they is no other subsequent play.

  27. @Diggity..
    1) I think you meant “too”
    2) not sure you are following. An onsides kick comes after a score. There IS NO “distance from a previous down”

    Go back to cartoon watching… 😉

  28. I have no problem with changing rules if they’re going to help the game and make it more exciting. The problem with the NFL is that most of the rule changes that are implemented don’t do either of those things. They’re just gimmicks that make the game less interesting. This is one of those rules that will cause more problems than it solves, so the NFL will almost surely adopt it–and then they’ll wonder what happened when attendance and viewership begin to dwindle.

  29. Mara has no business being on the competition comittee. He kneecapped the Redskins several years ago by eliminating $40 million of their cap money. And how did that work out? The Giants are the worst team in the NFC while the Redskins, in first place before losing two quarterbacks. look like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Mara is a complete joke.

  30. We fans have got to show up to games this season, with signs that let the NFL know that we are sick, and tired of them changing the game each, and every season, with this stupid competition committee!

  31. camsbiggestfan says:
    March 24, 2019 at 3:48 pm
    The 4th and 15 would discriminate against running teams. I think they should make it a 4th and 5 to get possession of the ball. That way its equal for all teams no matter what type of offense you run. Otherwise it’s a good change of the rules to make football more modern

    ————————————-

    haha, next lets move the extra points back in for those teams with bad kickers. Terrible idea. The probability of getting a first down at 4th & 5 is a little over 40%. That’s way, way, way to high of a number.

    The probability of a first down at 4th and 15 is a little under 15% – teams deciding to go for it should be at a significant disadvantage.

  32. This is a stupid rule change. Football is football. I don’t understand why these people keep messing with the game.
    Like the one guy said: why don’t we change the game to “whoever has the best QB wins” lol!! It’s seriously getting to that point. Sad.

  33. with all the rules handcuffing defenses i can see this 4-15 being converted WAY more than a onside kick.

  34. plus i forgot to add, how easy is it going to be for a ref to call some ticky tack PI call on that 4th and 15 ? This is a big mistake.

  35. Personally I agree with this rule change. One of the primary issues with the kickoff has always been injuries…head or otherwise. Old school owners tend to ignore those issues and pretend that the “they know what they signed up for” approach to injuries is going to continue to fly going into the next 20 years. At some point, it won’t. The easiest thing they can do is remove as many of the high risk plays as they can from the game. The way the onside kick has been implemented up until last season was practically begging for injuries to happen. Then the changes last season made it virtually impossible to recover an onside kick. 4th and 15 is a very good compromise position with lower injury probabilities while still being exceptionally difficult to accomplish. Placing the ball at the 35 also essentially says “you miss this, your opponent needs 5 yards for a 40 yard field goal” which is almost automatic for most NFL kickers.

    Also the percentage converted at 4th and 15 is 12.5%. So basically 1 out of every 8 4th and 15 plays was converted according to football outsiders. Those aren’t great odds.

  36. Follow up on my last point. According to FO, 4th and 15 is actually more difficult to convert than recovering an onside kick was prior to last season.

  37. THE NFL is implementing to many major rule changes. The implementation of this rule would be a huge change. they need to just make it big time flag football and those of us who like to keep the game as is for the most part can just find another sport or spend our fall and winter Sunday afternoons engaged in some other activity.

  38. Once again the NFL goes tampering. Giving a team the ball with a chance to convert a first down, is rewarding a team for being out performed. Terrible idea. Considering that they probably will pass the rule, I would suggest that in the case of a pass interference penalty, no yardage is marked off. They just replay the down. A pass interference penalty is far more likely, than converting a 4th and 15.

  39. You want to make it gimmicky and uneasy to achieve???

    OK, make it 4th and 5 on (your own/the) 30 and the QB (or any other player lining up in the backfield) is not permitted to throw the ball forward (loss of possession should that occur).

  40. This isn’t really about the onsides kick – it’s a stalking horse to removing all kickoffs from the NFL.

    They want to get rid of kickoffs altogether, but don’t know what to do about the onsides kick. So they are trying to replace that first, and once that’s done, they’ll eliminate all kickoffs.

    It’s in the name of safety, but some point, the game becomes unrecognizable.

  41. .
    all this from a lie that a high percentage of injuries happen from kick offs.
    Where are the stats on injuries? my estimates put it at less than .01%
    I still can not remember someone getting injured on a kickoff yet its such a high occurrence that we must RUIN football

  42. I believe that such a rule would make conversions by the offensive team far more likely than the onside kick does. Gaining 15 yards on a 4th down pass play happens all the time. If they are going to institute that as a replacement for the onside kick, they should make it at least 20 yards necessary to convert.

  43. camsbiggestfan says:
    March 24, 2019 at 4:46 pm
    We don’t want to see grandpa’s old smash mouth football. This is a new era. We want to see high powered offenses battle it out and we want to see fair rules that give every team an equal chance to win no matter how talented each team is. The NFL gets it, and so should you guys! Welcome to the new millennium!

    1 29 Rate This

    —-

    this idea is so terrible that you had to give it a thumbs up yourself, for the single thumbs up you got, every other person thinks youre clueless.

  44. Until they publish some actual, real statistics showing that kickoffs and onsides kicks cause injuries at a higher rate or of greater seriousness than any other play, why should we believe this change has anything to do with safety? It’s about pulling in more and more marginal fans at the expense of the minority of us who truly love the sport (or did, before all the tweaking that’s happened under Goodell).

  45. “Mara is just expressing sellers regret for trading the only guy on his team that could get 15 yards on one play.”

    That’s because Eli can’t throw the ball accurately for 15 yards. He has to rely on guys being able to take his little dumpoffs and getting the yardage after the catch.

  46. 4th and 15 from the 35 Yard line is too close. Either make it 4th and 15 from your own 1 or 4tg and 25 or 35 from somewhere between 20 and 35 Yard line.

  47. One thing is that historic 4th and 15s aren’t predictive of what the future ‘onside’ conversions would be.

    The reason is that team who ran a 4th and 15 had 3 plays that gained -5 yards while teams who run the ‘onside’ conversion play are coming of a scoring drive.

  48. Close to 10 years ago Calvin Johnson CAUGHT a last second TD against the Bears to win the game. The zebras overruled the catch send THAT was the BEGINNING of the end of the real NFL football.

  49. What the hey? You are all acting like teams will convert the 4th and 15 every time they try. If it was so easy, why would teams ever punt? With the changes to the kickoff rules, onside kicks are nearly impossible now, so if you want a team to have some chance for a comeback, you need another option.

  50. Another rule to put more power into the Refs hands. all those teams who ” get the calls ” and all those QBs who ” get the calls ” are probably loving this.

    as a Raider fan i can see this as another way for my team to find a way to lose games in the 4th quarter, especially when it starts raining yellow.

  51. Diggityofficial says:
    March 24, 2019 at 3:36 pm
    That is way to short. I would be on board if it was 4th and 25, plus the distance left on the prior down.

    =====
    The prior down would have been a TD. That said, I say 4th and 20 from your own 25.

  52. I don’t understand why this would only be available in the 4th quarter… why wouldn’t a team be allowed to do this whenever they wanted after scoring?

  53. Maybe cause its a stupid idea. Just allow teams to declare an onside kick with a slight change to the original rules – the ball must travel at least 10 and no more than 30 yards. There was no reason to include the running start changes to onside kicks in the first place, it never was a high injury producing play and the element of surprise is overrated in most circumstances.

  54. What if the team trying to get the ball back scores on 4th and 15?

    There’s another new dynamic: you used to take time off the clock to recover the onside kick. Now, you can score a TD with 1 second remaining, and score again on 4th and 15. Yes, that’s gimmicky.

  55. What if you want to do an onside kick at the beginning of the 2nd half like the Saints did to the Colts in the Super Bowl?

  56. It sure seems this might be a good sampling of NFL fans. I really liked phuzzball’s comment, no first down on PI; I would add same for defensive holding, just repeat down. Comments of throc and packers291 on target. But, jonathon reminded of probably the worst call in NFL history on Calvin Johnson vs. Bears. The absolute beginning of deterioration of rules.

  57. Stop changing the game!!! These old guys have never played anything in their life other than the stock market and then get together AS IF they are experts and know something about football. They create these changes and confuse everyone from the refs, the coaches, players, and fans so what we are left with is prolonged discussions between the refs trying to figure out what’s happening before their eyes and with hi-tech aids and assists. Where’s the entertainment in that?
    Can we have a moratorium on rule changes and have the owners go back to writing checks and staying in their own lane?

  58. How many times have we seen the onside kick successful, not many,ensuring the team leading with under two minutes a win.thats great if your team is leading but what if your team is losing,wouldnt you like to see your team have another chance to move down field for the tying or winning score by moving the ball fifteen yards,it wouldnt be easy trying to complete the pass but it would be easier than trying to recover an onside kick.

  59. This would be a HUGE change to the game. The surprise element would be TOTALLY lost in the same way you used to be able to surprise the defense by going for 2 after TDs. It’s nuts that the people running the NFL don’t see how badly they’re screwing things up.

  60. 4th & 20…15 yards is too attainable for good offensive teams. I’m not really a fan of it either way, if they want to tweek the rules to make an onside kick more likely like someone else said, I’m with that but this 15 yard thing is bogus. Really hope they shoot it down

  61. camsbiggestfan says:
    March 24, 2019 at 4:46 pm
    We don’t want to see grandpa’s old smash mouth football. This is a new era. We want to see high powered offenses battle it out and we want to see fair rules that give every team an equal chance to win no matter how talented each team is. The NFL gets it, and so should you guys! Welcome to the new millennium!

    ———

    Every team already has an equal chance to win. What you want is an equality of outcome

  62. since they want to do gimmick things now in the NFL, how about who ever scores the TD has to kick the extra point? kickers are just there for FGs

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