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Photo: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

NFL owners tabled a proposal Thursday that would have given teams an alternative to the onside kick, which has become nearly impossible to convert under the current kickoff rules.

The proposal: If passed, teams would have had two opportunities per game to replace a kickoff with one offensive down from their 25-yard line following a score. If the offensive team gained at least 15 yards, it would retain possession. If not, it would return the ball to the defense.

What they're saying: "That one got the most discussion, and there's interest in possibly looking at what we can do here ... But this one was just a little bit too much of a gimmick," said Steelers president Art Rooney II.

By the numbers: From 1992 to 2017, 21.2% of onside kicks were recovered, per NFL Research. Then, in 2018, the owners passed a rule restricting players from lining up more than one yard from the point of the kickoff.

  • In the two seasons since, the league-wide success rate has been cut in half (10.6%), with teams recovering just 12 of 113 onside kicks.
  • Remove Younghoe Koo, whose golden boot helped the Falcons recover two in the same game last season, and the success rate hits single digits (8.8%).

Wild stat ... The new kickoff rule has clearly affected the ability to overcome late deficits. Over the past two seasons, teams have attempted an expected onside kick (meaning not a surprise one) in 104 games. Those teams lost all 104 games.

What's next: Owners didn't take an official vote after a straw poll produced a 16-16 tie, so the proposal was tabled and discussions will likely pick back up next year.

Go deeper: Coronavirus canceling football would break college sports

Go deeper

Sep 5, 2020 - Sports

Browns and Bengals can host up to 6,000 fans for two home games each

Cleveland Browns players work out without fans during training camp at FirstEnergy Stadium in August. Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced Saturday that the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals can host up to 6,000 fans at two home games each scheduled for September and October.

Why it matters: DeWine's approval comes after three NFL teams agreed to host spectators. The Cowboys, Chiefs and Dolphins also promised to have fans in the stands during their first games of the regular season.

Go deeper: NFL says its coronavirus positive test rate is under 1%

1 hour ago - World

Army to award Purple Hearts to troops injured in Iran missile attack

Damage at Ain al-Asad military airbase housing U.S. and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar in January 2020. Photo: Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images

The Army has approved 39 more Purple Hearts for U.S. soldiers wounded in an Iranian military ballistic missile attack on an Iraq base in January 2020, the Army Times first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Most of these soldiers sustained brain injuries, per the Army Times. Then-President Trump dismissed their injuries at the time as "headaches" and "not very serious," sparking backlash from some veterans groups.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.