The NFL failed to adopt a new rule that would allow teams to opt to take a 4th-and-15 at their own 25-yard-line in lieu of an onside kick. While it didn't pass, the thinking behind the 4th-and-15 rule was a step in the right direction and could wind up passing with a small tweak.
Many believed if this rule had passed, it would have rewarded trailing teams too much. Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty said as much on Wednesday. After all, in the modern NFL, gaining 15 yards with a pass isn't as difficult as it was 20 years ago. Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid would be salivating at the chance to gain 15 yards on one play instead of attempting an incredibly unlikely onside kick recovery. That said, a simple fix would have likely made the proposal more palatable.
Here it is, in all its uncomplicated glory: just add five yards. Be honest, 4th-and-20 sounds way harder to complete than 4th-and-15, doesn't it? Again, it's only five more yards but would make the distance seem much further for one play.
In a year, proponents of an onside kick alternative should propose 4th-and-20 from the 25-yard-line. I would bet heavily on that rule change passing.
Successful onside kicks have largely become a thing of the past. The NFL needs to find an alternative. The 4th-and-15 proposal was not strong enough. It would punish teams leading games far too much. But this change could help the rule pass in the future.