I have no idea if anyone at NFL headquarters was watching last weekend when the XFL kicked off, but I hope they were, because the first week of action featured a rule that the NFL needs to implement as soon as possible: The fourth-and-15 onside kick alternative. 

Instead of attempting an onside kick in the XFL, a team can try to convert a fourth-and-15 play from its own 25-yard line. If the team converts, it gets to keep the ball. If the team doesn't convert, then the defensive team takes over from wherever the play ended. 

It's a rule the NFL has actually considered before, but it's never been voted through by the league's 32 owners. 

If you need proof that the rule would add some serious excitement, all you have to do is look at the Week 1 XFL game between the St. Louis BattleHawks and the San Antonio Brahmas. 

With 90 seconds left IN THE FOURTH QUARTER, the Brahmas led 15-3 and the game appeared to be all but over, but then things got crazy. 

With 1:25 left to play, Battlehawks quarterback AJ McCarron threw a 17-yard TD pass that cut the lead down to 15-9. 

After that, the Battlehawks scored a THREE-POINT conversion to cut the lead to 15-12. And yup, you can get a three-point conversion in the XFL. To score three points after a touchdown, a team has to get in the end zone from the 10-yard line. I wouldn't mind seeing the NFL also add that rule, but for now, let's just focus on the onside kick alternative. 

Speaking of the the onside kick alternative, the BattleHawks decided to use it after scoring their touchdown. 

Here's how it went down: St. Louis got to run one play from its own 25-yard line and needed to gain at least 15 yards if it wanted to keep the ball. You can see below what happened. 

Boom. That's an onside kick conversion. McCarron connected with Austin Proehl for a 22-yard gain that allowed the BattleHawks to keep the ball. 

A few plays after converting the fourth-and-15, McCarron hit Proehl again, this time for a game-winning 14-yard TD. 

A version of the fourth-and-15 rule was actually voted on by NFL owners in 2019. Even though the competition committee voted 7-1 in favor of the proposal, the league's 32 owners voted against the rule

The rule was popular enough that it was proposed again in both 2020 and 2021, but in each case, the owners decided to table the discussion, which meant that no vote was held. 

NFL owners have long been hesitant to approve dramatic rule changes, but adding the fourth-and-15 onside kick alternative would definitely spice up the game. The NFL is coming off a season where a record 156 games were decided by eight points or less and that number could go up if teams trailing by double-digits in the fourth quarter have a real chance of winning, which is what the BattleHawks pulled off in Week 1. 

One reason the fourth-and-15 rule would be an improvement over what's currently in place is because onside kicks are now almost impossible to recover. The success rate for onside kicks has fallen dramatically under the NFL's new kickoff rules, which were implemented in 2018. Under the new rules, players aren't allowed to get a running start, which makes it almost impossible to recover an onside kick. The onside recovery rate was just 5.4 percent in 2022 (3 of 56), which was a dramatic decrease over the 21.7 percent recovery rate from 2017 (13 of 60), when the running start was still permitted.

If the NFL wants to add some much-needed excitement to the onside kick, it will give teams the option of converting a fourth-and-15 instead of kicking an onside kick. DO IT NFL!