We have been covering the Philadelphia Eagles’ rule proposal to give NFL team’s an onside kick alternative (twice a game) extensively here at Arrowhead Pride — ever since Patrick Mahomes hinted that he did not seem to think fourth-and-15 provided much of a challenge.
We confirmed last Wednesday that teams did not have to be trailing in order to use the alternative, and word broke this Wednesday that there have been some slight changes to the proposal.
Here is the update, as first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer:
NFL coaches received revisions to Philly's 4th-and-15 onside-kick alternative this AM with 2 major addendums, I'm told. Those are ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 27, 2020
• The option is for regulation only. Can't be used in OT.
• It will be an untimed down.
These clean up some expected unintended consequences.
And NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero chimed in with official language:
Clubs received updated language on the proposed onside kick alternative that (as @AlbertBreer noted) clarifies it can only be used in regulation, not overtime, and is an untimed down. Also note the language on post-score penalties. Virtual meeting tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/NWrbrazEuz— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 27, 2020
The regulation-time note prevents teams from using the play to end the game if they hit a field goal and try to keep possession.
The “untimed down” means teams can’t use the play to drain the last few seconds of a game if they are winning. We saw this type of play in Super Bowl, when Mahomes threw the ball up on fourth-and-25 rather than punting so that the clock would hit zero and the game would be over.
Now that the rule’s language is set, NFL owners will vote virtually on Thursday. 24 of 32 owners will need to approve the rule for it to pass.