4th-and-15 Onside Kick Alternative Fails to Pass, Making Mike Zimmer Happy

Will Ragatz

The NFL's Competition Committee discussed a number of potential rule changes on Thursday, the most notable being the possibility of replacing onside kicks with a 4th-and-15 play from a team's own 25-yard-line after a touchdown.

According to multiple reports, that idea was discussed for roughly 30 minutes but didn't end up receiving the majority of votes required to pass. It would've needed 24 of the 32 owners to approve, but only got a roughly 16-16 split in an unofficial vote. That means that the discussion is tabled for a later date.

The decision to table this innovative idea comes down to "fear and a lack of creativity," according to SI's Conor Orr.

Only in the NFL could this congress of stuffed-shirt actuary wannabes throw together and implement something as abhorrent as reviewable pass interference and then table something as sensible as the fourth-and-15 onside kick proposal, which effectively died on the vine during Thursday’s league meetings according to our Albert Breer.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is among those who were against the idea of replacing the onside kick, which isn't entirely surprising given that Zimmer is an old-school, defensive-minded coach.

"I'm against it," Zimmer told Rich Eisen recently. "I think part of the reason is if you get a pass interference, it's an automatic first down. There's a lot of things that could happen there. I'm a traditionalist anyways, I like football the way it is for the most part. That's just my opinion."

"You work so hard to get to a situation where they have to kick an onside kick, where your defense gets a little bit of a rest. If they score [with this rule change], then the defense has to go out there again and try to get 'em stopped, it could've been a ten-play drive. Maybe they should change the onside kick somehow or something like that, but it's just weird to me."

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Comments (2)
No. 1-2

Conor Orr has the brains of an ice cube if he thinks "4th and 15" is a sensible alternative to already ridiculous "onside" kick rule. You LOST the game, folks. Zimmer is dead-on with the idea of PIs in play. I've never heard anything so stupid in rule meetings. What the NFL need to change is 1) the absurd "grounding" of the football at game's end that is nothing less than...INTENTIONAL GROUNDING (for God's sake!), and 2) the fact that offensive players can touch (and often grab) defenders facemasks while defenders can't even brush their hands against offensive players' faces without yellow laundry everywhere! This is a game, Roger--not purely an offensive showcase.


I thought that it was a good idea but I could see how teams like the Chiefs could be at an advantage with it in place.