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New potential Kickoff Rule Explained


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I think this was discussed in a different thread, but I think it might be a big enough topic for it's won thread. I found this video from Pat McAfee where he diagrams things a big and explains the proposed new rule: 

 

 

There's some things I like about it. I think it does a very good job of eliminating the most dangerous part of returns: The coverage guys running down the field and slamming into the return defenders while also encouraging returns. In a lot of ways it's turning kickoffs into a form of a running play... the "defense" (coverage guys) are lined up opposite the "offense" (return defenders) and they have to stay in position until the play starts (punt returner catches the ball) then they try to go tackle the running back (punt returner). I DO think this will lead to more returns and I do think this is a good thing try to create.

There are a few things I don't like though... I'm not a fan of a touchback going out to the 35, but that seems to just be for kicks that reach the end zone on the fly. I'm not sure what the rule would be for a kick that bounces in the "landing zone" (0-20 yards out) and then bounces into the end zone. If that was a lot shorter (even to just the 20 yard line) I'd be happier.

The 40 yard penalty for a kick that goes out of bounds will apparently also be applied for a kick that doesn't make to the landing zone (0-20) on the fly. I'm okay with that (though I'd simplify it and make it the same yardage as landing in the end zone) IF they get rid of the rule that if the returner touches the ball while being out of bounds and the ball isn't out of bounds then it's considered out of bounds. If you're asking the kicker to land the ball in a small area you can't make that area 10 feet smaller on all edges with this loophole.

I also don't like the onside kick rule. At least according to Pat a team has to declare they are doing an onside kick, and then it reverts back to the old rules for the onsides try. Further, onsides can ONLY be done in the 4th Qtr, and can ONLY be done by the trailing team. I don't love that because I do like the threat of a "trick play" for onsides at anytime, but I also don't know how you'd reasonably have an onsides scenario with the new rules. 

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51 minutes ago, Sports_Freak said:

This is just a possibility. There are some things there I don't like. The onside kick rule looks horrible. You have to tell the officials it's coming? And only in the 4th quarter? No, I don't like it.

I agree that that's the most to dislike about it. But, given the what they're trying to do, I'm not sure what the alternative is. My understand is that they're trying to:

A.) Minimize injuries as much as possible (the biggest injuries being when you have someone running "down hill" for 30 yards slamming into someone who's just turning to start blocking or possibly even running 20 yards "up hill") 

B) Encourage more (safe) returns instead of touchbacks or fair catches, both of which are pretty boring plays.

I think the proposed new rules does accomplish both of those things, at the cost of no real way to do an onside kick with the alignment. I don't love that part, but I do think it will make all non-onside kick kickoffs much more interesting.

IF they adopt this change I'd prefer they just turn the onside kick into a 4th and 15, and allow it at any time during the game. A 4th and 15 is gonna be safer than an onside kick I would think, plus it has a built in easy ability to adjust it if the NFL thinks its too successful or not successful enough... just adjust how many yards... make it 4th and 18 or 4th and 13. Single and easy for officials and players to understand without having to make more and more complicated rules surrounding who can be on what side, how far the ball needs to go, etc.

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On a side note (not an onside note mind you), if the NFL had a relationship with the UFL, this would be one of those things where they could have the UFL "play test" the rule change and see how fans like it, how it worked on the field, and how teams game planned around it.

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I think the NFL eliminating kickoffs under the guise of "making them safer" is stupid. It has just effectively eliminated them while maintaining the most asinine sequence in sports of extra point-commercial-touchback-commercial. If kickoffs are dangerous but punts are "safe", transition to exclusively punts from the -25. Allows for blocked punts which is a cool twist and still rewards good kicking, unlike today's rules where everything is a touchback.

You can allow for "onside punts" in there too. I don't hate the 4th and 15 idea where to convert you have to gain 15 yards. In obvious situations you're calling an offensive play and you can always have a Dan Campbell fake punt in there too. If you get it you're at the -40 or beyond. If you don't the opponent is in field goal range.

-on edit-

Under the 4th and 15 scenario, I require the offense actually gain the 15 yards. No automatic first downs on defensive holding and the like.

Edited by MichiganCardinal
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2 hours ago, RedRamage said:

On a side note (not an onside note mind you), if the NFL had a relationship with the UFL, this would be one of those things where they could have the UFL "play test" the rule change and see how fans like it, how it worked on the field, and how teams game planned around it.

I believe they got this idea from the XFL or some other league anyway 

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55 minutes ago, Sports_Freak said:

Is this rule change proposal something they can modify before we enacting? Or is it a take it or leave it situation? I really don't see this passing the way it is.

I think it's a take it or leave it, but even if they "took it", it would be solely an experimental change for the preseason. I don't see it passing anyway.

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1 hour ago, MichiganCardinal said:

I think the NFL eliminating kickoffs under the guise of "making them safer" is stupid. It has just effectively eliminated them while maintaining the most asinine sequence in sports of extra point-commercial-touchback-commercial. If kickoffs are dangerous but punts are "safe", transition to exclusively punts from the -25. Allows for blocked punts which is a cool twist and still rewards good kicking, unlike today's rules where everything is a touchback.

You can allow for "onside punts" in there too. I don't hate the 4th and 15 idea where to convert you have to gain 15 yards. In obvious situations you're calling an offensive play and you can always have a Dan Campbell fake punt in there too. If you get it you're at the -40 or beyond. If you don't the opponent is in field goal range.

-on edit-

Under the 4th and 15 scenario, I require the offense actually gain the 15 yards. No automatic first downs on defensive holding and the like.

I wouldn't want the chance of onside kick being much higher than 10%. A team up 2 in the dying minutes has been the better team, I want you to really, really earn getting two possessions in a row.  Might need to go to 4th and 25. 

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5 minutes ago, lordstanley said:

I wouldn't want the chance of onside kick being much higher than 10%. A team up 2 in the dying minutes has been the better team, I want you to really, really earn getting two possessions in a row.  Might need to go to 4th and 25. 

10% is what I had in mind. I thought that's what they said 4th and 15 was when they rolled it out, but I have no issue with longer to get the chances right.

It has to be more likely than the current onside kick percentage of 5%. Only two onside kicks (of 40 attempts) were successfully recovered this season. Both the result of a muff by the receive team. They're a foregone conclusion with the current rules, unless the opponent royally screws up.

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14 minutes ago, RandyMarsh said:

MC beat me to it but I was gonna say my only crux on the 4th and 15 thing is that no automatic first downs are given on penalties. 

I think it’s unavoidable if you have like a long pass and a defensive pass interference call. [Though an interesting twist could be that regardless of “how” successful the conversion is, the ball is brought back to the -40.]

But if the QB is sacked and there is an inexplicable flag for defensive holding? No thanks. They can do it again 4th and 10.

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1 hour ago, MichiganCardinal said:

I think it's a take it or leave it, but even if they "took it", it would be solely an experimental change for the preseason. I don't see it passing anyway.

I don't want to see any gimmicks. Can you imagine the first time a team made a 4th and 15 against the Lions, instead of a super low % onside kick? Ugh...that had SOL all over it..<ducks>

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18 hours ago, MichiganCardinal said:

I think the NFL eliminating kickoffs under the guise of "making them safer" is stupid. It has just effectively eliminated them while maintaining the most asinine sequence in sports of extra point-commercial-touchback-commercial. If kickoffs are dangerous but punts are "safe", transition to exclusively punts from the -25. Allows for blocked punts which is a cool twist and still rewards good kicking, unlike today's rules where everything is a touchback.

You can allow for "onside punts" in there too.

You know what... I actually love that idea.

The "danger" on kick offs was always that you have the kicking team running down the field at full speed while the receiving team was either stopped or even running back towards the other team. On punts the two teams are lined up on the line of scrimmage so you don't have down field collision (expect for the ball carrier). This is why punts are considered safer than kickoffs.

Now, "punt-offs" would still be subject to potentially a high number of fair catches, so you would still have a decent number of kicks that ended in a "boring" way, but it brings back the chance of a onside "punt-off" which I like, so that's a good thing.

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