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NFL’s new rule proposals could see onside kick replaced by all-or-nothing option

© Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In one week, the NFL will decide whether to approve or deny more than a half-dozen new rule proposals. Last year, the league ratified, the now-infamous pass interference review, which allowed teams to challenge non-called pass interference opportunities. Calls were overturned just 24 of 101 times. That rule is dead.

On this year’s docket are seven proposals, which are as follows:


  • By the Competition Committee, to amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9, to expand defenseless player protection to a kickoff or punt returner who is in possession of the ball but who has not had time to avoid or ward off the impending contact of an opponent.
  • By the Competition Committee, to amend Rule 4, Section 3, Article 2, to prevent teams from manipulating the game clock by committing multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running.


  • By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, to make permanent the expansion of automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any successful or unsuccessful Try attempt.
  • By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1, to provide an alternative to the onside kick that would allow a team who is trailing in the game an opportunity to maintain possession of the ball after scoring (4th and 15 from the kicking team’s 25-yard line).
  • By Miami; to amend Rule 4, Section 3, Article 2, to provide the option to the defense for the game clock to start on the referee’s signal if the defense declines an offensive penalty that occurs late in either half.
  • By Baltimore and Los Angeles Chargers; to amend Rule 19, Section 2, to add a “booth umpire” as an eighth game official to the officiating crew.
  • By Baltimore and Los Angeles Chargers; to amend Rule 19, Section 2, to add a Senior Technology Advisor to the Referee to assist the officiating crew.

There is no clarification if a team could use that to punt from their own 25, if they so choose, which, while not the purpose of the rule, could probably be used by some skilled special teams units with talented punters.

According to multiple reporters, including NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the measure has a substantial amount of support within the league.


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