The NFL announced Tuesday it will be testing two rule changes at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, including the experimentation of an alternative to an onside kick.
The announcement comes on the heels of league owners rejecting the alternative idea last year. The experiment, however, indicates the NFL still is considering what has been drawn up as a fourth-and-15 type of alternative opportunity for teams.
Teams will have two options after scoring in Sunday’s game, with no kickoffs as in previous Pro Bowls. The scoring team can choose whether to give the ball to its opponent, which would begin at its own 25-yard line, or to run one additional play from its own 25-yard line. If that team can gain 15 yards or more, it keeps the possession. If it does not, the ball goes to the opponent at the dead ball positioning.
The NFL does not adopt all Pro Bowl rule change options. But the league has been looking to looking into possible changes to the onside kick since new standards enforced in 2018 have made the play much more difficult for the kicking team, with all-time low of 7.7% of attempts recovered by them last season.
Pro Bowl officials will also be instructed in this year’s game to use a different standard for false start penalties on receivers at the line of scrimmage. It will not be a false start if a receiver moves or lifts a foot off the ground, provided the player resets on the ground for one second.