Blog Entry

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

Posted on: August 18, 2011 12:33 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 6:19 pm

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's one thing for kick returners to bemoan their plight regarding the new kickoff rule that now has balls sailing into the end zone roughly a third of the time, but they're not the only people complaining.'s Josh Katzowitz wrote Wednesday that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick thinks the NFL wants to squash kickoffs altogether (the league disagrees with that assessment).

The Browns' Josh Cribbs, the NFL record-holder for career kickoff-return touchdowns with eight, has been understandably outspoken on the rules change. After tweeting over the weekend that kicking off from the 35-yard line has turned preseason games into a "scrimmage," he told's Pat McManamon on Wednesday that "I'm entitled to my opinion."

As is often the case, player safety prompted the rules change. Saints coach Sean Payton called the kickoff return “the highest risk of injury play.”

Cribbs isn't buying it. “If that’s what the issue was, there are no stats to back it up,” he said. “The intentions are good, but the stats aren’t there.”

Football is inherently dangerous, and it's not inconceivable to think that kickoffs might be more hazardous than a typical play. But Cribbs is right -- the rules committee needs to do more than just proclaim kickoffs dangerous; they should give players the numbers to back it up. It's certainly a lot easier to sell a wholesale change that redefines one of the most exciting plays in football when you can point to a chart that shows, for example, the increased likelihood of a concussion resulting from an 11-on-11 full-speed head-on collision.

Under the new rule, the kickoff team can line up no more than five yards behind the 35-yard line in an effort to keep players from reaching full speed as they race down the field.

This makes sense and most reasonable people would agree that it should decrease injuries. But again, it would be nice if there were stats backing this up. Because following this logic, the NFL should also consider modifying punts, too. It sounds extreme, yes, but so does the thought of making guys like Cribbs and Leon Washington suddenly obsolete.

“I want somebody to come chase my record,” Cribbs said. “I want to chase it as well. I feel like rules like (this) will take it out of proportion. At the same time it’s an obstacle to get over and I’m looking forward to getting over it.”

You know who we haven't heard much from on this issue? The Steelers, a team that has struggled to cover kicks and punts in recent years. They may disagree in principle with the change, but we're pretty sure they won't put up too big a fuss given what Cribbs has done to them.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:31 am

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 1, 2012 2:08 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 5:24 pm
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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 29, 2011 3:35 pm
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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 24, 2011 10:01 am
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Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: August 19, 2011 11:22 am

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

How can ANY fan watch those 2 run backs by Cribbs above and NOT agree that some of the electricity of the game has been removed by aiding the touchback frequency? Soon the NFL will be a version of flag football.

Since: Aug 19, 2011
Posted on: August 19, 2011 10:10 am

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

I make $60,000 a year running in burning buildings...that's what i signed up for! So if these guys wanna go take hits and give hit for millions, let them do it.  

Since: Aug 18, 2011
Posted on: August 19, 2011 7:45 am

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

Its about the colts , the lost their playoff game to the jets because of specail teams , so polian who is the head of the commitee changes the rules .. He did the same thing when the pats beat his team two years in a row in the playoffs complaining about ty law and the pats hitting his receivers , Like when you are growing up he is the kid in the neighborhood that always expects to win but doesnt so he takes his ball and changes the rules to try and win for his team , with all his praise polian is still the gm that had jim kelly for his career and then got arguarlably one of th greatest quarterbacks in our lifetime and has only won 1 superbowl. , not a good resume

Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2011 10:17 pm

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

I personally hate what the NFL has done.  We might as well have after a team scores the ball just be placed on the 20 yard line and play on.  I know that the NFL is concerned about player safety but players know what they are getting themselves into.  Cribbs, Hester, Deion and many others made you want to watch the kickoff now.  It's yawn five to six yards deep take a knee.  Come on NFL bring back THE most electricifing play to the NFL,

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:38 pm

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

The fact is teams with good special teams. i.e. the Bears, Browns, Philly, ect. with great return men are just going to bing it out of the end zone and still get big returns, most of the kickers in the league hit some where between the 5 and 10 yard line on kickoffs from the 30, now it will be the 5 and the goal line, most kickers aren't kicking it to the back of the end zone even with the new rule, so if you have a good return man, you won't have to worry about it, if you don't the rule doesn't affect you much

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