By Lloyd Graff
Saints coach Sean Payton gambled that his team could recover the ball and change the momentum of the game. It worked. The Saints then outscored Indianapolis 25 to 17 in the second half to upset the Colts.
I laud Payton for the gamble. Most pro coaches are extremely conservative in mapping a game, but Payton was willing to gamble, as he had done late in the first half by shunning a sure field goal to go for a touchdown from the one on fourth down. The Colts stopped the run, but New Orleans still made a field goal just before the first half ended.
According to the blog, NFL Advanced Scouts, the Payton gamble was not roulette. The blog reports that although the success rate of NFL onside kicks is 26 percent, the success rate of “surprise onside kicks” is actually around 60 percent. The reason they have a bad name is because they are usually attempted when the other team is expecting them, and plays a “hands team” of ends and backs who practice receiving onside kicks regularly.
I submit that teams should make the onside kick a common practice. If kickers became extremely proficient at kicking them like they are for field goals, they could completely upset the special teams’ return game. Large segments of the field would be vacant, and blocking schemes would be a mess if teams routinely used “surprise” onside kicks.
In business most people live in the world of routine. They play it safe, follow accepted practices and live in the world of the average—perhaps a little below or a little above. We all need more onside kicks. Actually, we need to get more kicks period.
Question: Do you think the onside kick should be used regularly?
New Orleans Saints recover onside kick in Superbowl XLIV