NFL's fourth-and-15 onside kick replacement proposal doesn't pass

The much-talked about idea to replace NFL onside kicks with a fourth-and-15 play isn’t going to happen.

Not anytime soon at least.

NFL team owners voted the idea down during a meeting on Thursday.

It doesn’t mean that the idea has been ruled out for good, per the reports. But team owners aren’t ready to make the change for this season.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that some franchise owners say that the rule would benefit only a select few teams.

“Select few teams” in this case likely translates to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Sorry, Patrick Mahomes

A fourth-and-15 option would give another edge to teams with high-powered offenses. Shortly after the idea was floated, some looked at numbers demonstrating Patrick Mahomes’ significant statistical edge over other quarterbacks on long down-and-distance situations.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid even acknowledged it.

Sorry, Patrick Mahomes. Opposing owners aren't giving you this one. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)

The proposal that reportedly came from the Philadelphia Eagles would have given teams the option twice a game to run a fourth-and-15 play instead of kicking off, with success resulting in retaining possession.

It’s hard to blame those without elite passing attacks for not wanting to give away that edge twice a game to teams that have an offensive advantage — more specifically the defending Super Bowl champions.

So for now, at least, the NFL is stuck with an onside kick scenario that’s become increasingly irrelevant as modern kickoff safety rules have deemed the play ineffective.

Rule changes that passed

Team owners approved a few rule changes Thursday:

  • Injured reserve has been expanded to allow three players designated for return from the previous two.

  • Automatic replay review of turnovers and scores is now a permanent change.

  • Protections for defenseless players on kickoffs and punts have been expanded.

  • The clock manipulation loophole made famous by Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel has been closed.

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