By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Jason McCourty has been around in the NFL long enough to know that while yes, he’s technically in the competition business … he’s also in the entertainment business.
That’s the reason that the veteran cornerback believes the NFL may adopt a new rule that will give teams the chance to convert a fourth-and-15 play after scoring as an attempt to keep possession of the ball, an effort to replace the onside kick.
“I don’t know. I mean, from a competitive side, especially a defensive back, you don’t mind that pressure, going out there, fourth-and-15 or whatever the down and distance, and say, ‘All right, we gotta show up to win the game.’ But it’s just, the converse of it is if I’m a team and I’ve earned the right to be up, we made the plays necessary to be winning in the fourth quarter or whatever it might be, I have a chance to go seal the game by just catching an onside kick versus being out there for a fourth-and-15,” McCourty said Wednesday on a video conference call with media. “From that standpoint it’s like … I don’t really understand it. Now basically we’re rewarding you for being behind. That’s the only thing for me that’s a negative of it.”
Obviously, the rule will work both ways, and if McCourty finds his team trailing late in a game, the opportunity to retain possession with a fourth-and-15 play will come in handy.
Yet as the rule change proposal — which will be voted on by owners on Thursday — gets analyzed and dissected, it’s generally looked at from the offensive perspective. The perspective of the defensive player should be given equal consideration, but as the league moves more and more toward an offensive-friendly sport, such objections are likely to get pushed to the background.
Of course, competitors compete, and McCourty is ready to do what’s necessary if the rule change gets approved.
“We’re in the entertainment business. And an onside kick versus a fourth-and-15 is a lot more intriguing,” he said. “We have no control over it. If they vote yes, then we’ll be out there preparing situationally how to stop fourth-and-15’s with the game on the line.”