XFL’s fourth-and-15 onside kick alternative contributes to dramatic comeback win

Dallas Renegades v Seattle Dragons
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The XFL employs a more exciting alternative to the onside kick, and it contributed to a thrilling finish in today’s XFL game.

The San Antonio Brahmas led the St. Louis BattleHawks 15-3 with just 1:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, but St. Louis scored a touchdown and a three-point conversion from the 10-yard line to make the score 15-12.

That’s when the unique onside kick alternative came into play: After a touchdown, the XFL allows teams to opt to line up at their own 25-yard line facing a fourth-and-15, and if they convert the first down, they keep the ball.

St. Louis converted, with quarterback AJ McCarron hitting receiver Austin Proehl for the first down. The BattleHawks then marched down the field for a touchdown, again coming with McCarron hitting Proehl, and won the game 18-15.

It was an exciting ending to what had been a fairly dull game leading up to that point, and it was another illustration of how the best chance of the XFL and USFL to generate fan interest is to employ innovative rules and strategies. That certainly happened today.

27 responses to “XFL’s fourth-and-15 onside kick alternative contributes to dramatic comeback win

  1. Maybe we could call this Patrick Mahomes gets to keep possession of the ball the whole game rule.

  2. Tried watching last night. Not sure what i enjoyed the least, the 1st week of a NFL preseason game in the 4th qtr or this.

  3. All the Chiefs would have to do is opt for that play every time, the refs would bail them out when they don’t make it, and the Chiefs can always play offense

  4. Theoretically, you could get the ball to start the game and never give it back. How much would Josh Allen cry about that?

  5. So you play like crap most of the game and can get bailed out at the end with a gimmicky play? No thanks!

  6. dwinsgames says:
    February 19, 2023 at 7:46 pm
    So you play like crap most of the game and can get bailed out at the end with a gimmicky play? No thanks!

    Tom Brady won at least two SB’s doing that.

  7. Or how about this…If a team is announcing they are trying an onside kick, just, for one play, go back to the old rules? One five second play is not going to dictate the health of a player 25 years from now

  8. It’s a bit gimmicky. The only issue I have with something like this in the NFL is this would give the refs even more power to alter the outcome of a game. They already have too much influence as it is. In cases like this where you opt for a 4th and 15 over an onside kick the refs could throw those PI calls and let everyone know they’re a part of the game as well.

  9. I guess I can see the entertainment value in these gimmicky plays if I had no emotional attachment to a team. It would be fun to watch then. But I don’t think I’d care for it one bit if the team I’m rooting for, the team I’m emotionally invested in, plays hard the whole game and is winning but loses at the end because of gimmicks.

  10. So much whining, my lord, you’d think the NFL adopting this is im I think the NFL SHOULD do something to make getting the ball back possible but not sure this is it.

  11. The 4th and 15 “keep the ball” thing can only be used in the last 5 minutes of the game, and only if you’re trailing… so no, you can’t keep the ball the whole game. You could always onside kick, but you can do that in the NFL if you’re so inclined….I thought it was a boring game today, but a fantastic finish…

  12. The Brahmas vs the BattleHawks?? Almost as bad as an old CFL matchup between the Rough Riders and the Roughriders.

  13. I don’t like the further eroding of special teams.

    4th and 15 heavily favors teams with good QBs.

    Reject this idea.

  14. I like NFL football. It’s the most popular thing on TV for a reason. A new league should be trying to be as much like the NFL as they can. Trying to be different than a league the generates the kind of revenue the NFL generates just doesn’t make a bit of sense to me, but I’m sure someone out there will love it. I haven’t watched any XFL games and probably won’t. I’m waiting for the USFL to start. I think that’s going to be a much better product.

  15. It’s football and generally speaking, it was watchable. I admit the 4th and 15 vs an onside kick, is an interesting twist. The onside kick rarely works and is basically a prayer to a forgone conclusion. I think 4th and 20 makes more sense from a difficulty aspect, but a twist it is.

  16. It should be hard to get the ball back after just possessing it. 4th and 15 is a step in the opposite direction – might work in the XFL where QBs are not even NFL backup tier but not in the NFL

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