The NFL's 32 owners will be make some slight tweaks to the final language of the rule proposal. The biggest change is the fact that the fourth-and-15 play will now be an untimed down. Under the original proposal, the play was going to follow normal NFL timing rules, but now, the clock won't move at all if a team decides to attempt the fourth-and-15 play.in the form of a fourth-and-15 alternative to the onside kick, but before that vote could happen, the NFL decided to
This small tweak is actually a good one, and that's because it could add some serious excitement to a game. For instance, a team that's trailing by 15 points with five seconds left in the fourth quarter would have a better chance to win under the new language of the rule. Let's say a team is trailing 30-15 with five seconds left and they score a touchdown (plus two-point conversion) with one second left that cuts the lead down to 30-23. With one second left on the clock, they could run the onside kick alternative, and since no time will run on the play, they would get to run a second play if they were to convert the fourth-and-15.
For example, a team could convert from the fourth-and-15 play for 30 yards, which would take them to their opponent's 45-yard line, and at that point, they'd get one play with one second left. Under the old language of the rule, the final second would run off the clock on the 30-yard gain (Getting to the 45 would also give them the option of attempting a field goal if they were trailing by three or fewer points).
The other tweak added to the rule proposal is that the onside kick alternative can't be used in overtime (The fourth-and-15 option will only be allowed during regulation).
If you're not familiar with the new fourth-and-15 rule proposal, it would give teams an alternative option to the onside kick. Instead of trying to recover an onside kick, teams would have the option of attempting to convert a fourth-and-15 play from their own 25-yard line. If they get the 15 yards, they get a first down and keep possession of the ball. If they don't get the 15 yards, the other team would take over possession from wherever the play ended.
Teams would be allowed to try the fourth-and-15 play up to twice per game no matter what the score is (They could be winning, losing or stuck in a tie game). Also, all normal rules would apply to the play, so if a defense got called for defensive holding, the five-yard penalty would result in an automatic first down for the offense. On the other hand, if the offense got penalized, they wouldn't be allowed to then kickoff after the penalty is enforced. They'd have to run a fourth-down play from their new line of scrimmage, so an offensive holding penalty would lead to a fourth-and-25 from the 15-yard line, and if the offensive team didn't convert, the defensive team would take over on downs from where the play ended.
If a team elects to try the fourth-and-15 play, the only way it can change its mind is if it calls a timeout BEFORE the referee signals ready for play. Teams would also have the option to attempt the traditional onside kick.
For the new onside kick rule to pass, 24 of the NFL's 32 owners would have to vote on it at their next meeting, which will be held virtually on Thursday (May 28).