John Harbaugh Thinks A Kickoff Through The Uprights Deserves A Point


Don’t get me wrong. Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker deserves all the accolades that he gets. I don’t think it’s much of an argument to say that he is the best and most talented kicker in the league, especially given what he has done lately. Just on Sunday alone, he kicked four field goals and provided the margin of victory just from the ones—three of them, mind you—that came from beyond 50 yards, with a long of 57 yards.

Only once in Steelers history has anybody ever kicked one that long, by the way. In 1988.

But if you ask me, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh’s most recent proposal certainly strikes me as somebody trying to justify what the team elected to pay their kicker this offseason, inking him to a four-year deal worth $16.8 million. That included $10.8 million in guaranteed money.

His idea? Award a team points for a kickoff going through the uprights. What a novel idea for a team who has a kicker with arguably the strongest and most accurate leg on long kicks in the entire league to think it would be wise to award a team points for knocking a kickoff over the crossbar.

“He had a kickoff go through the uprights”, Harbaugh said during his post-game press conference. “I’m on record as advocating that that should be a point”. After the assembled media “chuckled in response to the suggestion”, according to an article on the team’s website, he responded, “I’m serious now”, before watering it down with a “kind of”.


He continued: “how exciting would that make it? If we’re going to make these touchbacks so valuable, let’s do it, let’s go for it”. Unsurprisingly, Tucker agreed with his head coach’s suggestion that he should be able to score more points, on arguably the one play in the game in which the team that begins the play with possession is not supposed to be able to try to score.

“I think eventually we are going to keep making the game harder for kickers” he said. “Then you have to reward us in some way”. Of course, the game has been made more difficult for kickers because they have become too good at it.

And that applies only to the extra point attempt, a rule change two years ago. The league also made their job significantly easier by moving the line of scrimmage on kickoffs up five yards. If you want to turn the kickoff into a possible scoring play for the team with initial possession, you’re going to have to move the line of scrimmage back to the 20-yard line or something.

I know there’s some bias as an idea coming from the head coach of a division rival of the team that I support, but Harbaugh’s proposal that a kickoff that goes through the uprights being worthy of a point seems a little ridiculous to me.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Jim Foles

    We should be kicking off from the 20.. and get back to real football..

  • mokhkw

    Sure, just so long as any attempt which sails over the back of the end-zone and doesn’t go through the uprights counts as a missed FG and you turn the ball over at your 35 yard line…………….

  • Jacob

    Football is a team game and there is no team involved in a kickoff going through the uprights, unlike extra points and field goals. I say no thanks.

  • DarthYinzer

    Any kickoff that goes through the uprights will grant the kicker a “great participation” medal. It will be a circular medal with the words “1 point” on it. At the end of the year, the kicker with the most “points” will have bragging rights over all other kickers in the NFL during the offseason.

  • Mister Wirez

    John Harbaugh… Jackass

  • Mister Wirez

    Kicker good boy happy trophies.

  • DarthYinzer

    We all know how much Harbaugh loves participation trophies.

  • Mister Wirez

    Right!

    Remember he’s the head coach that threw a hissy fit because the NFL put a stop to the zone running-offensive chop blocks Baltimore loved so much. That play nearly crippled Casey Hampton a few times.

    However, Harbaugh was the first to CRY when the Patriots fooled him in a playoff game where the Patriots used four clearly identifiable offensive linemen and had another player who was lined up in a different part of the formation (way outside near out the sideline) declare himself as the fifth ineligible receiver, the problem was Baltimore couldn’t identify who that lineman was..

    PS. Both Harbaugh’s are complete jerks.

  • Todd Johnson

    I. D. I. O. T.

  • Gizmosteel

    As much as I dislike Harbaugh I don’t think he was serious about this. It is ridiculous and he knows it.

  • Sam Scalleat

    The Ravens are desperate to find a way for Tucker to get them more points because he’s so much more consistent than their offense.

  • Steelers12

    What an idiotic statement

  • JNick

    And by offense, you mean Joe Flacco.

  • Spencer Krick

    It should also be worth a point if you can throw a football over them mountains.

  • alevin16

    Don’t dismiss his idea out of hand until you heard the rest. He went on to say that the kicker has to be wearing a uniform with purple in it somewhere and the name of the team has to rhyme with Mavens.

  • Lil Smitty

    He wants the Kicker to get a point on kickoffs, then lets change the rule some. Have the Kicker declare that the are going to try for the point and if they miss then the ball gets placed at the point of the kick. Shouldn’t punters be allowed to get the point also. How about strong arm QBs.
    What is this John Harbaugh’s version of “Calvin Ball”.

  • AndyR34

    AMEN!!!! I can’t up vote this too much…make that 1 into 1000…OK, 10,000…oh why stop there.

  • Nwall2

    I don’t know if there is a coach I have ever hated more than John Harbaugh.

  • Ahmad

    I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m going to defend John Harbaugh. I actually like the idea of making a kickoff through the uprights a point. It adds an interesting twist to the game and gives new meaning to a “1 possession” game.

    Not only that, the amount of touchbacks would increase because teams would be trying to get that extra point. Thus, there would be less returns which is what the league wants anyway. So, the league can kill 2 birds with one stone.

  • Orlysteel

    I’ll give a kicker that good 4 mil a year, kickers put points on the board, games come down to points, a lot of seasons and Super Bowls dreams have been shattered by missed field goals, the Minnesota Vikings could tell you that.

  • LucasY59

    that would take a lot more skill/control and ball placement to either have it land in the endzone or go through the uprights

  • LucasY59

    back in high school I could chuck the pigskin a quarter mile…

  • LucasY59

    problem is that badell is the only one that wants to get rid of kick returns …most fans like them

  • Axe Skot

    …or make the kicker less responsible for outcomes of games. Harbaugh is such an unbelievable tool.

  • Kevin78

    They also made it easier on kickers by attempting to cut down on the number of returns. Now they play tackle football on many fewer kickoffs and possibly a blocked kick.

  • terrygordon30

    Great idea! Perhaps a dog treat company could sponsor this. The “Justin Tucker sing for your supper, Good Doggie” award would be highly sought after and might even be tied into contract bonuses.

  • nitch19

    Um, John? Try harder. Thank you.

  • terrygordon30

    Good comments!!!

  • RickM

    It kind of shows his personality in my opinion. He gets the best long-range kicker in football and he suddenly advocates for a point if the kickoff goes through the uprights. And he isn’t even embarrassed that it’s shamelessly playing to the strength of his team. What a jerk.

  • terrygordon30

    Is this going to occur before or after the NFL merges with the Canadian Football League. And speaking of the CFL, I much preferred watching the Baltimore Stallions than the Baltimore Ravens.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    Best point yet!

  • Mrs Bighead

    Harbaugh also thinks that pass interference calls inside opponents territory should result in 4 points

  • Matthew Marczi

    And, of course, the Ravens as much as any team suddenly like to propose new rules the offseason after they were the victim of a team taking advantage of a loophole. I wonder what he’ll have to say next offseason when Marvin Lewis proposes that any play like the one they pulled at the end of the game on Sunday is a palpably unfair act.

  • RickM

    Well, if he’s asked I’m sure he’ll say that’s different…when of course it isn’t.

  • Rob S.

    Ok, fine. But, since we can allow a point attempt without risk, if you kick it through the endzone on the fly without going through the opposing team gets the ball from the spot of the kick. Let’s see you try it now.

  • Michael Pollard

    I say get rid of the penalty for kicking out of bounds. Allow for coffin corner kickoffs. So if you have a super talented kicker who accurately kick it OB, then you are rewarded with pinning a team inside the touchback area.

    Probably have to cap it at say the 15 yard line, so if you kick it OB at the 5 yard line, it comes out to the 15, and you are rewarded with 10 yards extra for your defense.