An onside kick to start a regular season game? That is what the Jacksonville Jaguars did on Sunday afternoon as they faced the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
It appeared that the Jacksonville Jaguars were set for a traditional kickoff to start the game. But, as kicker Riley Patterson began running to kick the ball, he did so just within the 10-yard mark, and recovered the ball himself.
Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson, who is in his first year with Jacksonville, is known for taking chances and calling trick plays. In fact, he was behind the 'Philly Special' call that led the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl LII win over the New England Patriots.
In this instance, however, the Jaguars were unable to capitalize and get on the board early against the Chiefs. Still, for a 3-6 team who is facing a 6-2 Chiefs team at home, it was clearly worth the shot to have a chance with the ball first.
The Jaguars will also start the second half with the ball. Unless, of course, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid decides to throw in a trick of his own.
What are the onside kick rules in the NFL?
NFL teams typically use the onside kick when toward the end of a game. That team is usually within striking distance of tying or winning the game and as time winds down, is in desperate need of another possession. But what are the rules for an onside kick in the National Football League?
The first thing that a team must do when lining up for an onside kick is to ensure that they have five players on each side of the kicker. This prevents an unfair advantage for when the ball is kicked. At least two of those players must be lined up in between the numbers and the hash marks on the field.
Players on the kicking team must be lined up at the 35-yard line and can't begin running until after the kicker has kicked the ball.
As for the receiving team, they have to have eight players set up between the kicking team's 45-yard line and their own 40-yard line. This was actually added to the rule change in 2020 to prevent any surprises. Clearly that hasn't exactly worked in the NFL's favor.
The ball must travel 10 yards before anyone can touch it. The kicking team can even possess the ball as long as it has gone at least 10 yards.
Over the years, the NFL has pondered and tested out additional changes to the onside kick rule, but this is how it currently stands.