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: Apr 3, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:00 pm

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

I think this is a bs rule. They are inching closer to a flag football league every year. Wth. Play the game how it's suppose to be played, dont like it, go play tennis. 

Since: Oct 7, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2011 5:30 pm

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

Hey dumb dumb, what's the matter you just mad because both videos are of Cribbs returning td's agains your Pittspuke Steelers?  Get a clue, why don;t you post something truthful, like how Big Ben is a rapist or how Harrison is the dirtiest player and the dumbest player in the NFL.  You need to get a life, and your team needs to learn how to cover kickoffs, go back and re-read the article if you know how to.  Here is what everyone knows about Pittspuke:

Pittsburgh: America's crotch. Literally one of the worst cities on the planet. Full of toothless mountain people. Looks from above as if someone decided, "You know what I'm going to do? Cut out a huge chunk of one of the worst sections of Eastern Europe and drop it in the middle of Pennsylvanian Appalachia." At the end of the day, the Cleveland Browns suck, but at least we're not from Pittsburgh.

On a brighter note, that will not hold true anymore, your team will suck, and we the Browns willwalk all over your asses!  See you later loser!

Since: Aug 18, 2011
Posted on: August 18, 2011 5:21 pm

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

Centaurus19, he meant the record for career kickoff returns for a touchdown...

Since: Jul 24, 2008
Posted on: August 18, 2011 5:14 pm

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

Seems to me Cribbs should have tried harder to be a better all-around player. Just sayin.

Since: Jul 12, 2011
Posted on: August 18, 2011 3:59 pm

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

Does anyone fact check these before they're published?


"The ' , the NFL record-holder for career kickoff returns with eight, has been understandably outspoken on the rules change."

Brian Mitchell returned over 600 kickoffs in his career.  Some dudes have done it 10 times in a single game.  How the hell is 8 the record for career kickoff returns? WTF.



Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2011 2:53 pm

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

I guess some of these people are not old enough to realize that placing the ball on the 35 is actually undoing a rule change that put it back on the 30 to begin with.  Check older film, for a long time kickoffs were from the 35, and the NFL got tired of roughly 40% of all kickoffs being downed in the end zone by the recieving team for a touchback and moved the kicker back 5 yards to keep big legged guys like Ray Guy from splitting the uprights (albeit low) on the kickoff giving the return team no chance.  Its actually a reversion not so much a revision....

Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2011 1:56 pm

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

cribbs realizes, and the browns will now see exactly how overpaid this man is.

Since: May 14, 2008
Posted on: August 18, 2011 1:21 pm

Cribbs still not happy about new kickoff rule

wow, I had no idea they had moved the kickoff up by 5 yards. This is pretty ridiculous.

even how it was, a strong kicker could routinely kick it into the end zone.

And its up to the teams to draft a strong enough kicker so that the opposing team has to think twice whether or not to return the kickoff, or take a knee and start at the 20.

Seems like now, teams have to worry less about the strength of their kicker than they did before.

5 yards is a lot. Guess we won't be seeing too many kickoff return TD's anymore.  

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