With no kickoffs at Pro Bowl, NFL experiments with onside kick alternative

The NFL eliminated kickoffs from the Pro Bowl in 2013, in an effort to cut down on injuries. This year the NFL is also experimenting with an alternative to onside kicks.

The rule for this year’s Pro Bowl is that after a field goal or touchdown, the scoring team can either give the other team the ball at the 25-yard line, or can attempt to keep the ball by lining up its offense with a fourth-and-15 from its own 25-yard line. That team can then either keep the ball by gaining 15 yards for a first down, or turn the ball over on downs if it falls short.

This rule is similar to one that has been proposed for years, and similar to what the Alliance of American Football did for its one and only season in 2019. At a time when kickoff rules have made onside kicks much more difficult for the kicking team to recover, it’s worthwhile to look for a different option.

The Pro Bowl will also experiment with a tweak to the false start rules, allowing a receiver to flinch or pick up one foot at the line of scrimmage without getting flagged for a false start, as long as he resets for one second before the snap.