John Harbaugh opposes new rule promoting fair catches on kickoffs

Buffalo Bills v Baltimore Ravens
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The NFL changed its kickoff rule to put the ball on the 25-yard line after touchbacks, in the hopes that it would lead to fewer returns, fewer high-speed collisions and fewer injuries.

Not everyone likes the idea.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who was a special teams coordinator before he became a head coach and is always one of the most prominent voices in the league on special teams matters, said the Ravens voted against the rule change because, “We thought there were better ideas.”

“The fair catch rule, we had a chance to weigh in on that with all the special teams coaches,” Harbaugh said. “We had a long talk and discussion about that. We weren’t for it. We voted against it. We think it’s going to create more high-speed head trauma than not having it in there. That’s our position on it. But we’ll see. They want to give it a shot and take a look at it.”

Harbaugh didn’t explain why he thinks the rule will create more high-speed head trauma, nor did he say which better ideas he favors.

One better idea that is generating interest in the football world, however, is the low-impact kickoff popularized by the XFL. That kickoff features 10 players on the kicking team and 10 on the receiving team lining up five yards apart, with no running starts. The XFL has found that its rule results in fewer injuries and more returns. It’s an idea worth exploring, but the NFL’s rule changes seem geared more toward eliminating kickoffs altogether.

12 responses to “John Harbaugh opposes new rule promoting fair catches on kickoffs

  1. I just don’t understand why the NFL seems hell bent on getting rid of any aspect of the kicking game. I enjoy the special teams aspect of the game. It is often special teams plays that decide a game. Special teams cost Philly the Super Bowl and won it for KC. It’s exciting and a part of the rhythm, ebb and flow of the game.

    I suppose in the end they need to free up more time for commercials 🤷‍♂️

  2. Stop messing with the rules. Football is dangerous. So is car racing, boxing, UFC, hockey, rugby etc. You’ve made it safer, it’s clear now that there is a risk of concussions and CTE that people are signing up for when they play. It can never be turned into flag football or people won’t watch. Just draw a line and give it 5 years before you make more changes.

  3. The NFL should seriously consider the XFL approach. The last time I checked, there isn’t a patent or copyright on it.

  4. Really, who cares what Harbaugh says? One of the special teams coaches he consulted is among the most bigoted, POS pigs you’d ever meet. Pardon me if I don’t trust their judgment.

  5. It’s funny how these coaches are all for it, but they aren’t the ones getting their heads caved in.
    Just shows that they don’t care about the players.

  6. I’m missing something. I thought currently if you catch the ball in the end zone the ball comes out to the 25? I dont see the change unless if you catch the ball anywhere it comes out to the 25. Probably a good rule. Stop the collisions.

  7. Just give the ball to the receiving team at the 25 and be done with it. No more returns. No more onside kicks. Enough of this “death by a thousand cuts” approach. I think we all know by now that Goodell is gonna do what Goodell wants to do, and it’s almost always to the detriment of the product on the field and the fan experience. The best thing fans can do is fully boycott preseason games, just to get Goodell’s attention. Season ticket holders have to buy the tickets, but by not going you deprive owners of what they really covet: parking $ and concession $. Also, you give the league an optic they would hate: games being played before empty stands.

  8. Just like public opinion has no bearing on the laws passed in washington, your opinion as a fan will never have any bearing on decisions made by the nfl until you vote with your wallet. The crappiest primetime games still avg like 12mil viewers and idk how many people watch things like the schedule release or the draft but it’s a lot.

  9. I love baseball…. and with all the rules changes that the MLB have instituted this season, they did it right.

    And baseball can be VERY BORING!!! The game now has some excitement.

    Why does the NFL keep screwing things up?

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