With no kickoffs at Pro Bowl, NFL experiments with onside kick alternative

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The NFL eliminated kickoffs from the Pro Bowl in 2013, in an effort to cut down on injuries. This year the NFL is also experimenting with an alternative to onside kicks.

The rule for this year’s Pro Bowl is that after a field goal or touchdown, the scoring team can either give the other team the ball at the 25-yard line, or can attempt to keep the ball by lining up its offense with a fourth-and-15 from its own 25-yard line. That team can then either keep the ball by gaining 15 yards for a first down, or turn the ball over on downs if it falls short.

This rule is similar to one that has been proposed for years, and similar to what the Alliance of American Football did for its one and only season in 2019. At a time when kickoff rules have made onside kicks much more difficult for the kicking team to recover, it’s worthwhile to look for a different option.

The Pro Bowl will also experiment with a tweak to the false start rules, allowing a receiver to flinch or pick up one foot at the line of scrimmage without getting flagged for a false start, as long as he resets for one second before the snap.

29 responses to “With no kickoffs at Pro Bowl, NFL experiments with onside kick alternative

  1. If they fail to convert the fourth down does the opposing team get the ball at the 25 (assuming an incomplete pass)? If so, I would tweak for use in regular season because that would be the kicker kicking backwards. Perhaps from at least the 35 where they kick.

  2. If you factor in pass interference and other defensive penalties, that’s a lot easier than recovering an onside kick.

  3. I think the NFL should allow onside kicks under the previous alignment so they go back to the way they were. That means the other team would know it’s an intentional onside kick as a team would have to declare it and then line up accordingly, but that would be better than what it is currently and in most cases it’s known anyway. If a teams wants to try a surprise onside kick, then they could do it out of the new alignment of players.

  4. Both ideas are interesting. The onside kick is pretty much pointless now. Would definitely make comeback attempts more interesting.

  5. It seems like a cheesy rule to me. Why reward a crappy team extra ways to win the game by slop?

  6. Blah blah blah….ruining the league…blah blah blah…I miss the old NFL…blah blah blah

    This is how we react to rule changes right?

  7. hedleykow says:
    January 21, 2020 at 11:07 am
    It seems like a cheesy rule to me. Why reward a crappy team extra ways to win the game by slop?
    ——————————————————————————–

    They already do that. It’s called an onside kick. And, yes, it is the sloppiest play in football.

  8. Kind of like this idea, but it should be harder. One quick pass, a juke and you have the ball in scoring territory. Should be 4th&25 from your own 40.

  9. Steve Erkel says:
    January 21, 2020 at 10:58 am

    My team has nobody playing in the Pro Bowl because they will be playing in the Super Bowl.

    —-

    Dude, the Bengals aren’t in the Super Bowl.

  10. rxv5854 says:
    January 21, 2020 at 11:10 am
    Blah blah blah….ruining the league…blah blah blah…I miss the old NFL…blah blah blah
    This is how we react to rule changes right?
    ————————————-
    Some of these rule changes seem to be drawn up by someone in their mother’s basement. If we are going to play with the rules, let’s at least make sure the person making the changes pays rent.

  11. “… or can attempt to keep the ball by lining up its offense with a fourth-and-15 from its own 25-yard line. That team can then either keep the ball by gaining 15 yards for a first down, or turn the ball over on downs if it falls short.”

    So, if a team can continue converting the 4th-and-15, they could effectively just keep scoring FGs/TDs and keep the ball — right? A team could score 3 TDs in a row without ever providing the other team the ball, so long as they can just execute a 15-yard play after each TD? Am I interpreting that wrong?

    I’m aware that 4th-and-15 is a relatively low-probability play (particularly from your own 25), but still seems WAY easier to convert on that than an onside kick, particularly with how common defensive PI calls are now.

  12. Some players have called the onside kick more dangerous than kickoffs. They’re not quite running full speed into each other, but the kicking team is either diving headfirst in a scrum for the ball or slamming into unprotected “hands team” members on a pop-up kick.

    I like the rule where you need to pick up X yards, though I can see tweaks to the number of yards needed, the starting point, and what happens on defensive penalties (e.g., all defensive “first down” penalties such as DPI, holding, etc. become half-the-distance enforcements).

  13. i didnt even know they got rid of the kickoffs since 2013!?, thats how long i havent watched it

  14. They should just convert this game the “Rookie Bowl” and play only first year players.

    At least it would be more fun to watch.

  15. Anything for more excitement. This would do that. Watching and onside kick is the equivalent of watching a pitcher execute a 4 pitch intentional walk. Boring. I like the chance to make the game more exciting. Great step in the right direction.

  16. Since everybody have his own idea, here is mine: 4th. and 35 from your own goal line…

  17. Steve Erkel says:
    January 21, 2020 at 10:58 am
    My team has nobody playing in the Pro Bowl because they will be playing in the Super Bowl.

    ———
    I believe Steve Erkel resides in Chicago. Hate to break it to you, the Bears are not playing in this year’s Super Bowl.

  18. Green Bay would love that rule – get the defense to commit a pre-snap penalty and then get to keep the ball without doing any work. Cheese Cheating has reached welfare levels for a team that has a QB who gets really nasty when he doesn’t get his way. At least he doesn’t bang his fists on the turf and calls for “mommie”. He has State Farm, you know.

  19. A better rule would be to give the offense the ball back after completing an eight point scoring sequence; if the defense can’t stop that, they don’t deserve the ball anyway.

  20. The only injuries at the Pro Bowl happens if someone steps awkwardly on a sprinkler head. It’s barely flag football. No hitting or tackling!

  21. lesepi says:
    January 21, 2020 at 2:29 pm
    Green Bay would love that rule – get the defense to commit a pre-snap penalty and then get to keep the ball without doing any work. Cheese Cheating has reached welfare levels for a team that has a QB who gets really nasty when he doesn’t get his way. At least he doesn’t bang his fists on the turf and calls for “mommie”. He has State Farm, you know.
    ___________
    Lol, how original! You realize the 49ers didn’t have a single penalty called against them this past weekend until there were 3-minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter? Not to mention, the fumble that didn’t have a “clear recovery” the week prior against Seattle. Your point is baseless and tasteless. A-Rod living rent-free in your head!

  22. How about rewarding teams for playing the first 58 minutes of the game instead of helping the teams that only want to play the last 2! Are you trying to become the NBA?

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