There have been some rule changes made by the NFL of late aimed at making things safer for kick returners. But, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and his kicker Justin Tucker are proposing a rule change that would benefit the team kicking off.
They’d like to see the league get on board with the notion of rewarding kicking teams one point for putting the ball through the uprights on kickoffs.
“A Kicker with a strong leg would be in favor of it,” Tucker said on the Dan Patrick Show. “The idea would be that if you split the uprights on a kickoff you get a point.”
Strong leg, indeed. Teams kickoff from their own 35-yard line, making the feat akin to hitting a 75-yard-field goal. And while we’ve seen kickers do it here and there, the longest field goal ever made was from 64 yards out. But as Tucker points out, kickoffs generally travel significantly farther than field goals and there are a number of reasons why.
The use of a tee enables a kicker to get under the ball better; there are no holders or snappers thus eliminating bad snaps and holds; there’s no rush to worry about, which gives a kicker more time for a run up to the ball; and the lack of a rush also allows the kicker to employ a lower trajectory, providing more distance.
Tucker, however, admits that even with all those things working in his favor, he’d still be successful on few of his attempts.
“Maybe one out of every five if the weather’s alright and the field is good,” he said.
While the NFL has never even considered such an idea, the Canadian Football League does have a remotely similar rule in place. It’s called a rouge and it rewards a team one point for a kick that goes into the end zone and is not returned.