Sean Payton: We have to keep onside kick opportunity alive

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Saints head coach Sean Payton would rather be preparing for Super Bowl LIV than reminiscing about Super Bowl XLIV this week, but losing to the Vikings in the playoffs means that he’s in Miami doing interviews.

One of those interviews came on PFT Live and it was only natural to bring up that Super Bowl win because it also came in Miami. The reminiscing focused on the Saints’ decision to try an onside kick at the start of the second half, which paid off when they recovered the ball and scored to take their first lead over the Colts.

Payton said he doesn’t think he’d try the same play under the current kickoff rules, which bar players other than the kicker from getting a running start and has led to fewer successful onside kicks. The NFL toyed with a wrinkle in the Pro Bowl that would given an offense a chance to convert a fourth-and-15 play to keep the ball and former head of officiating Mike Pereira suggested that a preseason trial could be a next step, but Payton said he’s “not a fan” of that approach.

Payton is on the NFL’s Competition Committee and he said he thinks there will be discussions about how to keep the onside kick as part of the game.

“I understand the safety relative to the onside kick,” Payton said. “I think we can improve how we do it. Inside of three minutes, let’s allow maybe a little more flexibility. I think the most exciting finish to an NFL game is score, onside kick, score. . . . We have to keep that opportunity alive. We can’t have a team taking a knee with more time left than we do right now. I think that we will. It was discussed last year, it was brought up, but I think we’re gonna pay a little bit more attention to the onside kick itself.”

If there was a tweak to the rules to allow for late game onside kicks, it wouldn’t do much to improve the chances of another surprise kick like the Saints pulled off 10 years ago but it would add a bit more intrigue to what’s become a less exciting play.

12 responses to “Sean Payton: We have to keep onside kick opportunity alive

  1. The pre-rules-changed onside kick had a success rate of around 12.5% – exactly as the success rate of the 4th-and-15 play. That’s why they choose that 15 yard target.

    A team shouldn’t be reward at the end after sucking for the first 57 minutes of the game.

  2. I agree to keep the opportunity alive but it should not be made easier for the losing team. Don’t think one team that is losing for 59 minutes should have an easy opportunity to win the game. Fourth and fifteen proposal makes no sense.

  3. None of this committee’s experts, nor their immediate predecessors in the Goodell era, have done anything to really improve the game. It’s been a mix of salt, PR and knee-jerk reactions. Of course, Fraudger picks the committee so it’s all hardly a surprise.

  4. a successful Onside kick requires excellent planning , quality practice reps, and top execution…it has a legitimate place in the game, and if the kicking team is skilled enough to do so, they should have the opportunity at any point in the game.
    and…
    since the kick cannot be advanced, how can you “Win the game” with an onside? you still have to actually score.

  5. I don’t have a position on Payton’s take, but “losing for 57+ minutes” is a bad one. The 30 minutes of a half are rarely equal, especially in the last five when timing and other rules start changing.

  6. I prefer the 4th and 15 approach unless they make some changes to the onside kick. I think it’s exciting, but the way it’s set up makes it impossible for kicking team to get the ball back. The old way was much more exciting.

  7. This is something related that has been bugging me. So why doesn’t the receiving team have to touch the ball when it’s in the endzone (and doesn’t go out out of the endzone)? It traveled at least ten yards and should be up for grabs for the kicking team to recover. The receiving team should have to control the ball and down it in the endzone if they want possession.

  8. Instead of 4th and 15, keep the onside kick and move the receiving team back 5 yards. The receiving team will then be required to move up 5 yards to get to the 10 yard limit instead of just standing there.

  9. I’m surprised he said this, I mean he has Taysom who is the most awesome threat the NFL has ever seen!

  10. All Goodell and the NFL committee have done in the last 6+yrs is continue to ruin this once great game with knee-jerk reaction after knee-jerk reaction! That along with the continued talk about a 17 or 18 game season, teams overseas(which by the way would be a logics nitemare for the traveling team) while totally ignoring the fact that attendance is WAY DOWN!

    They can talk all they want about the increased viewership but what they fail to include in the numbers is that even with the 10% increase over the last two years viewership is still down 1.4mil viewers per week below what it was way back in 2009 and they just had the lowest ratings for a Playoff game since 2008! Keep it up and this sport will look like NASCAR sooner than anyone ever thought and a lot of games resemble a NASCAR race now with just 30-40% of the stands full. With all the greed and the knee-jerk reaction rule changes they’re doing a bang-up job of sending the NFL it down the tubes and its circling the drain now!

    And with all of the lost attendance and the viewership still being at 1.4mil viewers/week below what it was 10yrs ago I don’t see them getting the HUGE TV deal that they think they’ll get.

    Its about time for the NFL to start doing things for the fans before even more of them walk out the door because as NASCAR found out its very hard if not impossible to get them back once they leave!

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