It’s not exactly the rule change that Justin Tucker once suggested, but the Baltimore Ravens’ All-Pro kicker put his support behind the Washington Redskins’ proposal that would reward teams for putting a kickoff over the crossbar.
The proposal, which could be voted on next week by NFL owners, moves the line of scrimmage to the 20-yard line for any touchback where the kick sails through the uprights. Touchbacks on kickoffs currently place the ball at the 25-yard line after last year’s rule change.
Not surprisingly, Tucker endorsed this bonus of five yards of field position because it increases the value of kickers.
Tucker and coach John Harbaugh brought up a proposal during last season that would have taken this a step further. They suggested teams get 1 point if kickoffs go over the crossbar.
Last season, Tucker was tied for ninth in the NFL with 52 touchbacks. In November, he was asked to estimate how many kickoffs he would be able to put through the uprights.
“It would be hard to say a specific number,” Tucker said. “I mean, shoot, if I had to throw one out there, maybe one out of every five if the weather is all right and the field’s good. Again, that’s kind of considering all factors, wind, field, etc.”
The reason cited for the Redskins’ proposal is player safety. By giving the opportunity for improved field position, teams presumably would attempt more kicks into the end zone, and that would result in fewer returns, which are considered one of the most dangerous plays in the game because of the high-speed collisions.