NFL owners tabled a vote on a proposal for an alternative onside kick -- which
would instead allow a fourth-and-15 opportunity -- at Thursday's virtual
The league announced four rules changes that did pass Thursday, but the onside-kick alternative reportedly did not have sufficient support.
The MMQB reported there was a vote that did not pass. The NFL Network reported there was no official vote, but a virtual show of hands indicated there was not enough support to garner the necessary 24 of 32 votes.
It is the second consecutive year in which the fourth-and-15 proposal has been brought up, and it is expected to be addressed again in the future. Under this year's proposal, a team kicking off would have had the option -- twice per game maximum, and only in regulation -- of attempting a fourth-and-15 play from its own 25 yard line instead of kicking off.
Competition committee chairman Rich McKay said on a conference call that there was more support for the proposal than last year, but added, "There is definitely that theory that you don't want to make the comeback too easy."
McKay said teams have concerns about the ability to advance the ball on a fourth-and-15 conversion, which cannot happen if a team recovers an onside kick.
NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent relayed a joke from one of the owners when discussing the proposal: "Those who have Hall of Fame quarterbacks should be excluded from this discussion."
The rules the owners did approve Thursday were:
--Making permanent the expansion of replay reviews to include scoring plays or turnovers that were negated by a foul, as well as any placekicking attempt.
--Expanding defenseless player protection to a kickoff or punt returner who is in possession of the ball but has not had time to avoid contact.
--Preventing teams from manipulating the game clock via multiple dead-ball fouls when the clock is running.
--Increasing the number of players who can return from injured reserve from two to three per team.
The rule regarding clock manipulation was put in place after teams such as the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans used delay-of-game or false-start penalties to bleed time in the fourth quarter of games this past season.
According to NFL Network, the owners also approved the competition committee report, which includes a plan to test expanded officiating with the help of a replay official during the preseason as an experimentation. This comes after broader proposals to insert a "sky judge" or "technology adviser" were tabled.
The league also announced that the owners approved an extension of their deal with EA Sports to produce the "Madden NFL" video game.
The Action Network reports the new deal runs for five years and is worth $2 billion.