NFL GM: 2-Score Leads Would Be Blown 'Just Like That' If Onside Kicks Changed

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIJune 1, 2020

Footballs with the Philadelphia Eagles logo lay on the field before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

A proposed rule that would have given teams the option to convert a 4th-and-15 to retain possession after scoring rather than attempt an onside kick was tabled by NFL owners Thursday:

"Bottom line," an NFL general manager who said his team would vote against the rule change told NBC Sports' Peter King. "You work all game to build a two-score lead, and it's gone just like that."

"The 4th-and-15 idea is not dumb," King opined. "It just needs some work. At the very least, the clock should run on the play. I'd like to see it exhumed in some form for 2021."

Below is what owners were set to vote on:

Several others expressed why they were hesitant about the potential rule, including Atlanta Falcons CEO and president Rich McKay:

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Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II told Bob Labriola of the team's official website that he deemed the rule, which "got the most discussion" of any proposal under review, to be "just a little bit too much of a gimmick."

Onside kicks were altered prior to the 2018 season when the league introduced new kickoff rules in an effort to limit high-speed collisions, which has caused a noticeable decrease in recoveries over the last two seasons. In 2019, only eight of 63 onside attempts were successful (h/t NFL.com's Grant Gordon).