The National Football League is considering a drastic rule change that would eliminate onsides kicks. The proposed new rule would see the trailing team instead attempt a 4th and 15 from their own 35-yard line. If they covert, they keep possession of the ball. If they don’t, it’s a turnover on downs.
If the rule is changed, it would be viewed as another small step towards making the game safer. Oddly enough, the Alliance of American Football has already inserted a similar rule in the league’s inaugural season. Instead of attempting an onsides kick in the AAF, the trailing team can opt to attempt a 4th and 25 conversion.
In the AAF, the rule has been seen as a resounding success. In the NFL, we hope it would be seen the same way. As the league has tried to make kickoffs safer, they have decreased the excitement of the play. Finding a new way to bring action back to the field could be just what the doctor ordered.
But why change the rules in the first place? This might surprise you, but studies have shown that kickoffs are the most dangerous plays in the NFL and cause the highest numbers of injuries. By finding a way to eliminate one aspect of this, the league unquestionably would be making itself safer.