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.
“When I was driving home, they was pinning your jersey on the freeway and I just broke down,” West freestyled during the service. “Kobe it’s too far. Shoot it from where you are. Remember that you’re a star. You gotta do more, you gotta go hard. If Kobe was here, he’d maybe grab the mic. If Kobe was here … he here tonight,” he added.
The hip-hop artist’s emotional performance was the latest addition to an archive made up of hundreds of hip-hop lyrics over the past two decades that hail the basketball legend, where his name is often used as a simile for greatness.
Videos of the early Monday performance were posted by those in attendance, including West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West.
From hip-hop moguls like Jay-Z and Diddy, to stars like Drake and Kendrick Lamar, the five-time NBA champ was name-dropped in hundreds of verses over the years as a symbol of grit, greatness and the triumphant status of a baller who defies all odds.
Lamar famously paid tribute to the basketball star upon his retirement in 2016 in “Kobe Bryant: Fade to Black,” where he reflects on Bryant’s legacy and what he meant to Los Angeles. And in 2017, the Compton rapper sat down with Bryant for an interview with Complex magazine, where the two reflected on what greatness means to them.