Eagles proposing onside kick alternative again

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Teams attempted 67 onside kicks in 2020. They recovered three, according to thefootballdatabase.com. That was fewer than in 2019 when eight of 63 were recovered.

The Eagles proposed an onside kick alternative that didn’t go very far last year. They are proposing it again this year, Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports.

The alternative would allow teams the chance to maintain possession after a score with a fourth-and-15 play from their own 25-yard line.

The Competition Committee has discussed the idea for several years. The proposal gained support but not enough for 24 owners to approve the rule change, so it was tabled last May.

PFT reported that two concerns surfaced about the onside kick alternative last year:

First, if the kicking team recovers an onside kick, it cannot advance it beyond the spot of the recovery. The fourth-and-15 alternative, as a scrimmage play, would not be limited to the line to gain or the spot of the catch or anything other than where the play ends — up to and including a touchdown.

Second, the fourth-and-15 play puts extra pressure on officials to throw a flag for defensive holding, illegal contact or pass interference. Whether officials call those fouls like they would on a normal play or take a “push the flag deeper in the pocket” approach, the situation will result in much more scrutiny being applied to the officials on those plays.

Owners meet virtually March 30-31.