The Ravens have an interesting idea to change the NFL's kickoff rule
Ravens' coach and kicker think kicks that go through the uprights on kickoffs should be worth a point
The NFL has made several changes to the kicking game in recent years. First, they moved kickoffs up from the 30-yard line to the 35. Then, they moved extra points back from the 2-yard line to the 15. This year, they awarded teams an extra 5 yards of field position on touchbacks.
The Baltimore Ravens have another interesting idea for a rule change in the kicking game: Coach John Harbaugh and kicker Justin Tucker think it would be worth exploring making kicks that go through the opposing uprights on kickoffs be worth one point -- hence, kickoff field goals.
"I'm on record advocating that should be a point," Harbaugh said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. "I'm serious now, kinda. Really, how exciting would that make it, for him to make these kickoff touchbacks so valuable? Let's do it. Let's go for it."
"If we're going to keep making the game harder for kickers, you gotta reward us in some way," Tucker said. "The ownership, the competition committee, the NFL, they're great at this give-take thing when [CBA] time comes around, maybe we can throw that one out there. Maybe you get a point for putting the ball through the uprights on a kickoff. I'd really appreciate that."
Let's throw it out there: Such a rule change is extraordinarily unlikely to happen. And the main reason the Ravens are in favor of it is because they have Tucker, one of the most likely kickers to actually be able to accomplish the feat. (Eye on Football kicking savant and writer John Breech thinks most kickers could do it. I'm not so sure.)
But I think it would have another unintended benefit: It might increase the rate of touchbacks, thus accomplishing a goal the NFL has been trying to achieve for years and helping eliminate (or at least cut down on) one of the most dangerous plays in the game.
Moving touchbacks out from the 20 to the 25 backfired on the NFL because it motivated some teams to try pooch kicks and not allow the opposition to kneel the ball in the end zone, but if you could potentially get some points by trying to boom the ball through the uprights, teams might try doing that more often, which would then result in more touchbacks.
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