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AngusMcFife

Onside kick versus 4th and 15

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The NFL is considering offering teams the opportunity to go for a 4th and 15 to replace the onside kick.

I think this is a bad idea. It would be a great benefit to teams that have a good deep passing attack, and hurt everyone else. 

Why not just change the amount of yards the ball has to travel on a kickoff for the offense to recover. Instead of 10 yards, why not make it 8 yards or so? That would increase the percentages of recovery back to around 15%. 

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Honestly, I like it. I've always felt like the onside kick is as much randomness as it is execution, and the 4th and 15 concept remains sufficiently punishing to discourage non-desperate teams from doing it, while making it more about actual football execution.

I would disagree that it will just benefit teams with a good deep passing attack, though. First of all, it's still mostly going to be a desperation move. It isn't like your elite passing teams are just going to do it every time now. It's still low percentage and heavily punishing when you fail. There's also more to it than just deep passing. It'll probably be more intermediate passing, first of all (teams would go for the highest percentage 15ish yard route combination they can find, it won't be like go routes or deep corners or anything.) But there's two sides to it, so it's arguably just as beneficial to teams with a great pass defense as well. Maybe San Fran isn't greatly suited to converting compared to Kansas City, for instance, but they could easily be the best in the league at stopping them with that pass rush. Ultimately, it's going to benefit teams that are good at football, which is preferential in my mind to the seemingly randomness that is the onside kick.

The only thing I don't like about it is the potential for defensive penalties deciding the conversion. I'm perfectly fine with the notion that a team completing a 15+ yard pass when the D knows it's coming gets to keep the ball. I'm iffy on the prospect that you could throw it up, get illegal contact/defensive holding/DPI and get a free drive out of it. That's the one thing that gives me substantial pause about it.

Also, for the record, the onside kick will still be an option. The onside kick is really just a side effect of the league's kickoff rules, so it wouldn't actually be replaced, it would be an alternative.

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5 minutes ago, Jakuvious said:

Honestly, I like it. I've always felt like the onside kick is as much randomness as it is execution, and the 4th and 15 concept remains sufficiently punishing to discourage non-desperate teams from doing it, while making it more about actual football execution.

I would disagree that it will just benefit teams with a good deep passing attack, though. First of all, it's still mostly going to be a desperation move. It isn't like your elite passing teams are just going to do it every time now. It's still low percentage and heavily punishing when you fail. There's also more to it than just deep passing. It'll probably be more intermediate passing, first of all (teams would go for the highest percentage 15ish yard route combination they can find, it won't be like go routes or deep corners or anything.) But there's two sides to it, so it's arguably just as beneficial to teams with a great pass defense as well. Maybe San Fran isn't greatly suited to converting compared to Kansas City, for instance, but they could easily be the best in the league at stopping them with that pass rush. Ultimately, it's going to benefit teams that are good at football, which is preferential in my mind to the seemingly randomness that is the onside kick.

The only thing I don't like about it is the potential for defensive penalties deciding the conversion. I'm perfectly fine with the notion that a team completing a 15+ yard pass when the D knows it's coming gets to keep the ball. I'm iffy on the prospect that you could throw it up, get illegal contact/defensive holding/DPI and get a free drive out of it. That's the one thing that gives me substantial pause about it.

Also, for the record, the onside kick will still be an option. The onside kick is really just a side effect of the league's kickoff rules, so it wouldn't actually be replaced, it would be an alternative.

Agree with every word. When reading the first couple paragraphs I was already replying that I agree but my only pause is the idea of a ticky tack penalty like DPI, holding, etc giving teams a first over a close call or bad call and not because they executed properly. But you touched on it. I think there could be a reasonable workaround for that small issue. 

Either way, possibility for a penalty or not, I still like the idea. The onside kick is just so random and recovering it usually takes luck or a blunder by the other team. And while I am aware it's the team's fault for being in the position to need an onside kick, I like the idea of a team being able to get back in because their offense executed and made a big play over a stroke of pure luck. 4th and 15 isn't some scenario where you have a strong chance of converting. I don't have the numbers but it has to be a very low percentage in terms of being converted. 

I won't hate it if they don't make the change. But I definitely like the idea. I think it could add some excitement, and I think it could make for some truly wild moments to help comebacks which are always fun (unless you're a fan of the team losing the lead lol). 

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I never really thought about it. But the onside kick is really stupid. An extremely critical moment in a game and it’s going to come down to a kicker trying to pull off a HORSE shot. Idk if 15 yards is difficult enough but I’d say good riddance to the onside kick.

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I don't mind the idea, but the OCD part of my brain just can't reconcile with calling it a 4th down. How can it be a 4th down?? There was no first second or third down! Just call it a single untimed down.

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15 yards seems too low tbh. I'd make it at least 20. 

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1 hour ago, Mr Raider said:

The onside kick is just so random and recovering it usually takes luck or a blunder by the other team. And while I am aware it's the team's fault for being in the position to need an onside kick, I like the idea of a team being able to get back in because their offense executed and made a big play over a stroke of pure luck. 

 

1 hour ago, DontTazeMeBro said:

I never really thought about it. But the onside kick is really stupid. An extremely critical moment in a game and it’s going to come down to a kicker trying to pull off a HORSE shot. Idk if 15 yards is difficult enough but I’d say good riddance to the onside kick.

I would argue that getting the ball back in that scenario should be based on luck rather than skill. The premise of the game of football is that if one teams scores, the other team gets the ball next. Getting it back after you score should be a crapshoot with low odds, not something you can scheme up or gameplan. 

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55 minutes ago, Starless said:

15 yards seems too low tbh. I'd make it at least 20. 

One thing I think is nice about it, though, is they can very easily look at the success rate and shift it appropriately. Too easy, add yards, too hard, take them away.

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1 hour ago, AngusMcFife said:

The premise of the game of football is that if one teams scores, the other team gets the ball next. Getting it back after you score should be a crapshoot with low odds, not something you can scheme up or gameplan. 

Nope.  After one team scores, the other team is afforded the opportunity to get the ball back

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1 hour ago, Starless said:

15 yards seems too low tbh. I'd make it at least 20. 

Why not just adjust the amount of yards the ball needs to travel before the kicking team can recover? Say, if the ball travels 8 yards, they can recover? 

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7 minutes ago, DannyB said:

Nope.  After one team scores, the other team is afforded the opportunity to get the ball back

That’s pretty much what he said. This rule will skew heavily towards the much better teams. When you have teams like the Chiefs who can pretty much score at will and gain chunk yards like it’s nothing why wouldn’t they do this twice a game? Imagine a team starting a game down 14-0 without ever being given a chance to touch the ball unless they’ve put something in to prevent this from happening.... 

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10 minutes ago, lavar703 said:

That’s pretty much what he said. This rule will skew heavily towards the much better teams. When you have teams like the Chiefs who can pretty much score at will and gain chunk yards like it’s nothing why wouldn’t they do this twice a game? Imagine a team starting a game down 14-0 without ever being given a chance to touch the ball unless they’ve put something in to prevent this from happening.... 

They wouldn't do it because the punishment is the other team getting the ball at the 25 yard line already in field goal range, and even the best offenses in the NFL are still going to fail 4th and 15 most of the time.

As for the notion that this skews towards better teams, that's just a weird statement to me. It isn't like the rule is going to be unfair. Everyone has an equal ability to convert, it's the same yardage for everyone. But yeah, being better at football is going to make you better at converting, yes. That's...how it should be? It's like saying the fact that you can kick a field goal and score 3 points is unfair, because it skews towards teams with better kickers. Like...yes? Obviously. Being better at something translates to being better at something.

And your last statement is just wrong. The team would absolutely have a chance to touch the ball. You touch the ball by stopping an incredibly low percentage 4th and 15. Like, the same critique should be there for an onside kick. If a team started a game down 14-0 because they failed to recover an onside kick, that's the same thing.

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Just now, Jakuvious said:

They wouldn't do it because the punishment is the other team getting the ball at the 25 yard line already in field goal range, and even the best offenses in the NFL are still going to fail 4th and 15 most of the time.

As for the notion that this skews towards better teams, that's just a weird statement to me. It isn't like the rule is going to be unfair. Everyone has an equal ability to convert, it's the same yardage for everyone. But yeah, being better at football is going to make you better at converting, yes. That's...how it should be? It's like saying the fact that you can kick a field goal and score 3 points is unfair, because it skews towards teams with better kickers. Like...yes? Obviously. Being better at something translates to being better at something.

That’s my point exactly. The onside kick is a game of chance and that’s how it should be. If you’re down multiple scores late in the fourth quarter it’s because you’ve been outplayed. In the off chance that one of the leagues better teams ends up in that situation this rule would give them a much better chance to come back than an onside kick would. A team shouldn’t be rewarded with a chance to put their offense back on the field without having to at least attempt to kick the ball back i.e. onside kick. 

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Posted (edited)

Your offense just scored a TD to go up by 4, there are 2 minutes on the clock in the 4th and the opposition is Mahomes. You decide to go for 15 from your own 25 to own the clock and keep the Chiefs O on the bench and prevent Mahomes from using the clock to defeat you in the fading seconds. You are successful and maintain possession to win the game.... OR you fail the 15 yarder and give away field position... A field goal is no use to them, they need a TD so you defend as such, chances are you give away a TD anyway but with Mahomes back on the bench you have a minute left on the clock, enough time to go down the field and score a field goal to tie the game.

The point is, when your playing an O you cant stop, its often better to keep them on the bench, especially if their QB has an arm and a liking for dramatic endings. I could see the 15 yarder being used in more situations than the the onside kick was. Trouble is getting 15 yards when the D knows its coming, is insanely hard.

Edited by GordyTheGoffer

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14 minutes ago, Jakuvious said:

As for the notion that this skews towards better teams, that's just a weird statement to me. It isn't like the rule is going to be unfair. Everyone has an equal ability to convert, it's the same yardage for everyone. But yeah, being better at football is going to make you better at converting, yes. That's...how it should be? It's like saying the fact that you can kick a field goal and score 3 points is unfair, because it skews towards teams with better kickers. Like...yes? Obviously. Being better at something translates to being better at something.

I don't agree with that analogy at all. Teams can be good in different ways. Some grind it out with a lot of runs and mix in play action, some throw a lot of short passes. This rule would benefit certain kinds of offenses and teams way more than others. 

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