Biggest NFL rule changes for the 2018 season
The NFL owners are scheduled to hold their annual meeting Sunday through Wednesday in Phoenix, and they will vote on a spate of proposed rule changes.
An expansion on replay is gaining the most attention, but another proposal could make the end of games a bit more interesting.
The Denver Broncos suggested an alternative to onside kicks. ESPN reported that this would mean instead of a team kicking off following a score, it would have one opportunity per game to remain on offense after a fourth-quarter score. The team would line up at its 35-yard line for a fourth-and-15 play instead of kicking the ball. If the team gains the 15 yards, it would maintain possession. If not, the defense takes over.
As Pro Football Talk noted, the Alliance of American Football is using a similar format for all of its kickoffs.
Judy Battista of NFL.com reported that the proposal has “generated a lot of interest from the Competition Committee, with members believing it could be a fun option for teams, given that rules changes designed to make the kickoff safer have all but eliminated the chance to successfully execute an onside kick.”
The NFL altered the kickoff rule ahead of last season. The changes included not allowing players on the kicking team to be in motion before the kick and barred blocking opponents within 15 yards of the kick.
That radically reduced the number of success onside kicks. The Washington Post reported that kicking teams recovered only four of 53 onside kicks in 2018 (7.5 percent) compared to 13 of 60 onside kicks a year earlier (21.7 percent) under the previous rules.