NFL rule changes 2021: Eagles propose onside kick alternative, new OT rule

Dave Zangaro
·4 min read
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Eagles propose onside kick alternative, new OT rule originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

For the second straight year, the Eagles have proposed a rule change that would give teams an alternative to onside kicks.

The rule proposal didn’t pass last year, but the Eagles have proposed it again for 2021. This is one of 11 rule changes up for discussion this year and one of two from the Eagles.

According to the proposal, instead of an onside kick, teams would have the option of a 4th-and-15 play from their own 25-yard line to retain possession. The language of the proposal would allow for a team to do this just twice in a game.

If the offense gets a first down, they retain possession at the spot. If the defense gets a stop, they assume possession at the dead-ball spot. Teams can still attempt a normal onside kick as well.

The Eagles and Ravens also submitted a proposal to change the rules of overtime to create a sudden-death format. This rule is a little confusing, but here’s the gist:

There are two “privileges” in overtime: 1. Pick where the ball is spotted. 2. Pick whether to start on offense or defense. The team that wins the toss gets to pick which privilege it wants but the team that picks where the ball is spotted must decide that first.

So here’s an example: The Eagles are playing the Giants in Philly and we’re going to OT. The Giants win the toss and elect to spot the ball at the offense’s 15-yard line. So then the Eagles have to decide if they want to be on offense from their own 15 or on defense from the Giants’ 15. PFT did a deeper dive on this rule proposal back in early March.

The Chiefs have a fun proposal to expand jersey numbers. DBs, LBs, RBs, FBs, TEs and WRs would be allowed to wear numbers in the single digits under the proposal. DBs and LBs could wear anything from 1-49, while RBs, TEs and WRs could wear 1-49 and 80-89.

Anyway, here are the 11 rule proposals for 2021 (the Eagles’ proposals are Nos. 8 and 10):

1. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 16, to eliminate overtime in the preseason.

2. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 3, for one year only, to establish a maximum number of players in the setup zone.

3. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 4, to expand the prohibition on blocking below the waist by offensive and defensive players on scrimmage downs when contact occurs beyond five yards on either side of the line of scrimmage and more than two yards outside of either offensive tackle, by Competition Committee.

4. By Competition Committee, Coaches Subcommittee, and Baltimore; to amend Rule 15, Section 3, Article 9, and Rule 19, Section 2, to permit the Replay Official and designated members of the Officiating department to provide certain objective information to the onfield officials.

5. By Chicago; to amend Rule 11, Section 3, Article 3, to ensure the enforcement of all accepted penalties committed by either team during successive Try attempts.

6. By Los Angeles Rams; to amend Rule 8, Section 1, Article 2, to add a loss of down for a second forward pass from behind the line and for a pass thrown after the ball returns behind the line.

7. By Kansas City Chiefs; to amend Rule 5, Section 1, Article 2, to expand jersey number options for certain positions.

8. By Baltimore and Philadelphia; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, to change the options for winner of an overtime coin toss, and create a true sudden death format.

9. By Baltimore; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, to change the options for winner of an overtime coin toss, eliminate sudden death format, and eliminate overtime in the preseason.

10. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1, to permit a team to maintain possession of the ball after a score by substituting one offensive play (4th and 15 from the kicking team’s 25-yard line) for an onside kickoff attempt.

11. By Baltimore; to amend Rule 19, Section 1, Article 1, to add an eighth official who is positioned somewhere other than the playing field, with full communication to on-field officials and access to a television monitor.

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