Among the notable potential NFL rule changes that owners will soon vote on is one that would allow teams to try a fourth-and-15 play from their own 25-yard line as an alternative to an onside kick. It seems New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty is still trying to understand how it is the better option.
Although the competitor in McCourty is not worried about having to defend such a down-and-distance to win the game, he does not see the benefit of rewarding losing teams with extra chances to win. He said via ESPN's Mike Reiss:
“If I'm a team and I've earned a right to be up, we've made the plays necessary to be winning in the fourth quarter or what it might be, I have a chance to go seal the game by just catching an onside kick vs. being out there for a fourth-and-15- from that standpoint, I don't really understand it. We're now basically rewarding you for being behind. That's the only thing, for me, that is a negative of it. But at the same time, we're in the entertainment business, and an onside kick vs. a fourth-and-15, is a lot more intriguing is a lot more intriguing. So we have no control over it. If they vote yes, well be out there preparing situationally hope to stop fourth-and-15s with the game on the line.”
There is certainly plenty of truth to McCourty's comments considering the alternative would give losing teams an extra edge to work with in the event that they are forced to play catch-up. Although he has become accustomed to working with a healthy lead playing for the Patriots, it is clear that even he cannot deny that it would provide some more intrigue to the game.
Of course, the rule change does not appear to be exclusive to losing teams. Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has already indicated as much by providing a warning of his team's potential with a player of Patrick Mahomes' caliber under center.
It remains to be seen if the change will gather enough steam to spur a favorable vote. Regardless, it is safe to assume that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will have no problem scheming around it in the event it passes and becomes a new league-wide rule.