Having been a special teams coordinator before becoming a head coach, John Harbaugh may take a keener interest in the kicking game than most coaches do.
And from Harbaugh’s viewpoint as the coach of the Ravens, the NFL’s new rule moving kickoffs to the 35-yard line and limiting where players on the kicking team can line up was not a good idea.
“We can live with the ball at the 35-yard line, although to me that doesn’t help our football team,” Harbaugh told Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun. “Without question, I’d rather it all stay the same.”
For selfish reasons, Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff takes a different stance: He likes the decision to move the kickoff to the 35-yard line because it’s going to be easier for him to boot the ball into the end zone. But he thinks fans are going to find kickoffs less interesting because fewer of them will be returned.
“Obviously, I’m excited,” Cundiff said. “It’s the first time they made a rule that benefits a kicker. [But] fans don’t like to see kickers kick the ball into the end zone all the time for touchbacks.”
Based on the comments we’ve gotten, Cundiff seems to be right: Most fans seem to view the new kickoff rule as a needless change that wasn’t well thought out.