Jason McCourty: Fourth-and-15 alternative more intriguing, but rewards teams for trailing

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NFL owners will vote on a proposed rule change this week that would allow teams to try an alternative to onside kicks at the end of games.

They’d run a fourth-and-15 play from their own 25 and retain possession of the ball if they were able to convert it. The impetus for the move, as stated in the proposal, is to create “excitement and competition late in the game” as onside kicks have become far more difficult to pull off due to changes to the rules on kickoffs.

Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty concedes that the tweak would bring more excitement and competition, but said on a Wednesday conference call that he’s not sure about adopting a rule that makes it easier for a losing team to come back.

“I think from the competitive side, especially as a defensive back, you don’t mind that pressure, going out there on fourth-and-15 or whatever the down and distance,” McCourty said. “It’s, ‘Alright, we’ve got to show up to win the game.’ But it’s just like conversely, if I’m a team and I’ve earned the right to be up, we’ve made the plays necessary to be winning in the fourth quarter or whatever it might be, I have a chance to go seal the game by just catching an onside kick, versus being out there for a fourth-and-15. From that standpoint, I don’t really understand it. We’re now basically rewarding you for being behind and that’s the only thing that for me is a negative of it. But at the same time, we’re in the entertainment business and an onside kick versus a fourth-and-15 is a lot more intriguing. So, we have no control over it. If they vote ‘yes,’ we’ll be out there preparing situationally how to stop fourth-and-15’s with the game on the line.”

The vote on the fourth-and-15 proposal and other proposed rules changes is set for Thursday.

14 responses to “Jason McCourty: Fourth-and-15 alternative more intriguing, but rewards teams for trailing

  1. How many teams will just underthrow a single covered deep WR and hope for a flag every time?

  2. Statistically, it was easier to convert onside kicks at 19% then 4th-and-15 at 16%.

    And seriously, the failure rate is 84% with the ball at your own 25 – not really a gimme there…

  3. I think the point that he is missing is that you don’t deserve to win the game until the game is won. If one play can change a win to a loss, then you haven’t made all the plays required to win.

  4. They get to start at their own 25, NO WAY!

    Make it their own 5 to really make the teams think if they want to try it and I’d be 100% for it!

  5. What is it with the NFL wanting to tighten the scores up and give the team losing a chance to win?

    They must be taking their marching orders from Vegas!

  6. So you’re telling me that 4th and 15 is safer than the old onside kick? Nonsense.

  7. Well said but that’s todays nfl they want everyone to get a trophy what happen to this once great game ?

  8. Don’t see why a team who just scored a TD to take a slight lead couldn’t then choose to take the 4th and 15 play and then punt from that formation to bury the other team deep in their own territory.

  9. Love the couch potatoes implying a little CTE won’t kill anyone. Stats indicate that an on side kick under the old rules and 4th and 15 have an almost identical success rate.

  10. I think the point that he is missing is that …….
    I think he’s not the one missing the point.

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