NFL passes rule designed to give kicking team a better chance on onside kicks

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons
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Although the NFL did not vote on the much-discussed “fourth-and-15 alternative” to the onside kick, it did pass a new rule that will make onside kicks easier for the kicking team to recover.

The rule will require the receiving team to have no more than nine players lined up in the “setup zone,” which is defined as the area between 10 and 25 yards from the spot of the kickoff.

Previously, NFL teams always put either 10 or 11 players in the setup zone when they were expecting the opposing team to onside kick. According to the NFL’s tracking data, receiving teams expecting an onside kick line up with 10 players in the setup zone 87 percent of the time, and all 11 players in the setup zone the other 13 percent of the time.

With only nine players in the setup zone, fewer players on the receiving team will be in a position to recover the onside kick, and the kicking team will have a better chance to get to the ball.

Since the NFL changed the kickoff rules to prohibit a running start by the kicking team, onside kicks have become much less successful. This new rule may change that.

24 responses to “NFL passes rule designed to give kicking team a better chance on onside kicks

  1. Still seems like those two players outside the zone will have plenty of time to get into the play

  2. Having to tinker with the rules because the previous tinkering messed up the game *rolls eyes*

  3. azpackerfan says:
    April 21, 2021 at 3:57 pm
    What was wrong with allowing a running start on kickoffs?
    ——————–
    Absolutely nothing

  4. You left out the part that the receiving team will have their hands tied behind their backs.

  5. Next the NFL will dictate that no backs [offensive or defensive] or receivers can be on the receiving team.

  6. How about the owners realize this isn’t Madden an d try to keep it as “Football”?

    I’ll bet they can’t because most of them were the last guys off the bench when picking sides on backyard football.

  7. I’d rather see the onside kick removed from football than to make it easier for the kicking team.
    Bring back REAL kickoffs and returns instead.

  8. If you don’t want to give players a running start, the obvious solution to having the recovery percentage go back to where it was is so simple. No need to adjust the amount of players on the line.

    Instead of requiring the ball to go 10 yards before the kicking team can recover it, just adjust the distance to 8 yards. Or 7. Or to whatever number gets you to the pre-rule change recovery percentage.

    It’s just statistics.

  9. Just curious, when was the last time the NFL simply kept the same rules from the previous year?

  10. azpackerfan says:
    April 21, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    What was wrong with allowing a running start on kickoffs?

    —————————

    In a word, concussions. Old-school kickoff returns were where the most head injuries occurred, and there were calls from the lawsuit-happy faction to get rid of kickoffs altogether.

    Banning the running start was a compromise by the league, and I believe it actually accomplished what it was intended to do–concussions on returns are down substantially.

  11. Cant leave well enough alone. Just give the refs another way to blow a bs call in a game. Um there were toomany men in the zone i mean the ball didnt travel i mean replay i mean its 4th down, No Tom that was 4th down.

  12. lunscr says:
    April 22, 2021 at 7:29 am
    azpackerfan says:
    April 21, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    What was wrong with allowing a running start on kickoffs?

    —————————

    In a word, concussions. Old-school kickoff returns were where the most head injuries occurred, and there were calls from the lawsuit-happy faction to get rid of kickoffs altogether.

    —-

    Except the statistics didn’t support that position. In fact kickoffs are NOT where most head injuries occurred.

  13. Next thing will be “quota’s” where seven of the nine need to be third string linemen with their hands and gloves taped….

  14. Why change the rule at all. Winning an on sides kick is supposed to be rare. Why should the NFL give the advantage to teams that are LOSING?

    Leave that rule alone. There are plenty of other rules that needchanging, like the one that makes a player maintain possession of the ball after contact with the ground. CHange that one. A catch and two feet should equal possession.

  15. Just keep the onside kick but make the rule be that if the ball hits the ground “on its side” before being touched then the kicking team keeps the ball at the spot of the kick.

  16. New rule? Must be whine time. This isn’t a big deal, so settle down. Maybe kickers should actually figure out how to do better. Onside Kicks are absolutely brutal. Kickers stink.

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