NFL considering changing onside kick, overtime rules
Published 12:44 am Saturday, April 3, 2021
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL is considering a rule change that would allow teams to maintain possession of the ball after a score by substituting one offensive play for an onside kickoff attempt.
The proposal submitted by the Philadelphia Eagles is among 11 that will be voted on at the spring league meetings. This one would allow teams to keep the ball by converting a fourth-and-15 from their 25-yard line.
Another proposal from the Baltimore Ravens changes the overtime format and eliminates overtime in the preseason. It allows the winner of the overtime coin toss to choose where to spot the ball for the first play or start on offense or defense from the designated spot.
According to the proposal, “regardless of which privilege is chosen by the winner of the toss, privilege (a) is to be exercised before privilege (b), so that the selection of whether to play offense or defense is made after the starting field position is chosen.”
Other potential changes include adding a loss of down for a second forward pass from behind the line and for a pass thrown after the ball returns behind the line and to ensure the enforcement of all accepted penalties committed by either team during successive try attempts.
A proposal by the Kansas City Chiefs would allow single-digit numbers to be worn by defensive backs, linebackers, running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, H-backs and wide receivers. Currently, quarterbacks, kickers and punters are the only players allowed to wear single digits.
The NFL could finally see its first 2,000-yard receiver. The 5,000-yard passing club might be ready to induct a few more members with Peyton Manning’s single-season record of 5,477 yards possibly in jeopardy.
The accomplishment of 1,000-yard seasons rushing or receiving will become more common and a little more devalued.
With the NFL increasing its season to 17 games for the first change in length of the season since going from 14 to 16 games in 1978, some records and milestones could soon be threatened by even more players.
The offensive explosion in recent years that has made comparing marks from the 1970s and 80s to today’s game a fruitless exercise will only become less useful as players in the 17-game era put up even bigger statistics than the stars of the past decade.