The NFL's message to teams that struggle to recover onside kicks: tough luck.
NFL owners passed three rule changes for 2020 during a virtual meeting Thursday, and a proposal for an alternative to the current onside kick format wasn't among them.
The proposal -- which would give teams the option after a score to attempt a fourth-and-15 play from their own 25-yard line to maintain possession instead of onside kicking -- came to a vote but ultimately was shot down, per Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer.
This one did go to vote, by the way, and was voted down. So it's possible it comes back to life down the line, but it's a no for now. https://t.co/HsMC5FAkyR— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 28, 2020
Jason McCourty should be pleased with that result; the New England Patriots cornerback said Wednesday he wasn't a fan of the fourth-and-15 option, arguing the rule would "basically (reward) you for being behind."
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The proposal indeed was divisive: Some players and fans agreed with McCourty that the rule made it too easy for an opponent to wipe out a hard-earned lead, while others thought the change could spice up a predictable play: Only eight of 63 (12.7 percent) onside kicks were recovered last season.
As Breer points out, this proposal could resurface in the future. But in 2020, at least, defensive backs like McCourty won't have to worry about making a stop on a gimmick play to protect their team's lead.