Ravens coach John Harbaugh not happy with new kickoff rule

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.

19 responses to “Ravens coach John Harbaugh not happy with new kickoff rule

  1. It’s like a friend of mine said: If you’re going to move the kickoff forward 5 yards, then you need to move the touchback forward 5 yards.

    Teams need to be penalized slightly for kicking it out of the end zone. That extra 5 yards would help even it out a bit.

  2. Couldn’t hate it more. If it truly is about player safety then just start the ball at the 25 every time….sounds dumb right? But that is basically what they are doing. Any legitimate kicker should now have a touch back 9 out of 10 times.

  3. At the all-time peak of popularity for the NFL, Czar Goodell continues to be the catalyst for the evolution of the league into the “new NFL”…No Fun League.

    As good as Rozelle and Tagliabue were for building up the NFL, Goodell is trying to tear it down.

    NFL…Not For Long?

    Sad, really.

  4. Uh, the NFL is NOT about the fans. If it were, then we wouldn’t see the fat cat billionaire owners whining and shutting down football for the ALMIGHTY dollar, their God.

  5. Cundiff doesn’t care what the fans think – he hit a billion touchbacks last season :p … and he’s gonna do it again, and simply shatter the record he approached last year.

  6. First we have a lockout. Then there are some unnecessary rules changes – all in the name of the fans. KO returns are part of the excitement of the NFL. LEAVE THE GAME ALONE! What’s next – a team in London or Toronto – oh yeah going there too – you know, for us fans. Meanwhile ticket prices are $100 a pop – for the fans.

    The damage is done my friends. Call when there is a regime change.

  7. Two reasons to hate this rule. First, you remove one of the most exciting, game-changing plays. Second, you slow things down even more. I can see it now. Touchdown–Extra point (yawn)– 2 minutes of Commercials–Kickoff-touchback (yawn)–2 more minutes of commercials. Finally back to the game. Reminds me yet again why I can no longer watch the game I love unless I DVR it so I can fast forward.

  8. I kinda like the rule, SD won’t have to worry about Special Teams this year, and won’t be ranked 32nd in the league, yea!!!!!

  9. You know the old saying — If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it —- Well Roger Goodell has a whole different saying — If it ain’t broke, change every damn thing about it and turn it into something else — And while were at it lets take as much of the excitement and hitting and roughness out of it as we can and try are best to make it as boring and pillow like safe as we possibly can and then we can add two more of these totally new boring, hit-less (pretend football) pillow like games —- Yeah, sounds like a plan — And you know — I’m just so way less interested in the NFL as a whole these days — Hell, the NFL draft has always been like a big old great holiday to me, one of my very favorite times of the year and this year I’m having trouble even getting into it at all —- Roger Goodell and the owners are just ruining this sport with this wussy rule change stuff — It’s really very sad

  10. bfridley: He didn’t just approach, he tied it which of course means more than likely the Ravens will never see a kick return this year and the record will be absolutely gone. I think what a lot of people are not looking at is a kicker still controls his power, a kicker can be told to keep it out of the end zone if a team needs a big play to try and get a fumble on the kick return. I think it adds a new level of strategy more than anything.

  11. If you really want to add excitement to kickoffs, you should STRONGLY discourage touchbacks. I recommend 1) any kickoff which goes out of the end zone on the fly is spotted at the 30. 2) Any kickoff downed in the end zone or which lands in the end zone and bounced out is spotted at the 30.

  12. I love how people are blaming Roger Goodell for this change. The competition commitee propose the change and the owners voted it in. Get a clue people.

    You are right about one thing though, this is a new era of NFL Football. With the new data on concussions in the forefront of everyones minds you can look forward to more changes that will try and make the game safer for the players.

    You don’t like it, don’t watch it. Its really that simple.

  13. The telling point will be when the TV commercials kick in after the extra point and don’t come back until after the touchback is spotted on the 20.

    TV broadcasts will just assume a touchback and not even bother to show the kickoff. — More commercial revenue.

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