After three NFL seasons of kicking off from the 35-yard line, what has been the impact on touchbacks, returns, field position, scoring and injuries? Also, is this rule responsible for a record number of big comebacks?
22 Nov 2007
compiled by Ben Riley
"There is a question whether the ball went past the crossbar and came back. We will take a look at this play."
-- NFL referee Pete Morelli, explaining that he would confer with other officials regarding the on-field ruling that Browns kicker Phil Dawson had missed the potential game-tying field goal against the Ravens at the end of regulation. Replay clearly showed the ball clearing the crossbar before bouncing back over, but -- for reasons known only to the NFL -- field goals aren't supposed to be reviewable.
"After discussion on the field, the field goal hit the top of the crossbar, went over and hit the extension on the backside, which in fact, is a good field goal, and bounced back. The field goal is good."
-- Morelli. The Browns then won in overtime.
"I thought I kicked it well enough. And when I saw it bounce off [the crossbar, apparently], I was sick to my stomach. Just sick."
-- Browns kicker Phil Dawson
"But the way it bounced, I thought something odd had happened. Then I saw the refs huddling, and people at that end of the field were insisting [the ball] was over [the crossbar]. So I thought we had a chance."
"But the whole time they're huddling, it's like a jury being out. You're powerless. It's agonizing. When they said it was good, I just thought: Sweet justice. "
"It's justice, to be honest with you. We've had some pretty weird things happen to us over the years, none of them good.''
-- Dawson (Sports Illustrated)
"I got it. I could write it all out on a map. I could write out every little country over in Europe. I don't know all the capitals, but I could tell you all the countries.''
-- Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder, publicly commenting for the first time on his "controversial" joke earlier this year about his inability to find London, England, on a map
"I was joking. If I said something that genuinely hurt somebody's feeling -- if I said something vicious or malicious -- I might regret it. But I was just joking around. I don't regret that.''
-- Crowder, rightfully refusing to apologize for the joke
"I don't think it takes a high I.Q. to play middle linebacker. But it does take a smart football player. And that's what is most important to me right now."
-- Crowder, who apparently scored 1280 on his SAT and graduated with a 3.9 GPA (Miami Herald)
"I observed an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath [and] bloodshot glassy eyes."
-- From the police report on the Monday morning arrest of Buccaneers linebacker Cato June, who was charged with driving under the influence
"The defendant exhibited clues of impairment."
-- Statement in the June arrest report (Tampa Bay Tribune)
"I've talked to him and I've also spent countless hours thinking about it. I do know this: He's a great guy. We're going to stand behind him. I think he's going to learn from this. I'll let his comments speak for him."
-- Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden (Pewter Report)
"I'm devastated. I'm very upset. I'm very disappointed. Not in anybody in particular."
-- 49ers owner Denise DeBartolo York, discussing at length her imploding team
"You know, I am going to get into trouble if I start making football decisions one-on-one, by myself. But I am thinking that he will."
-- York, suggesting in lukewarm fashion that 49ers head coach Mike Nolan will return next year
"I don't think a losing season should determine your future. I think that building the stadium is going to create a legacy for decades."
-- York, discussing how she envisions building the 49ers legacy
"The money that we've spent on Alex [Smith], on free agency, on Patrick Willis ... I think it's all going to come together. I'm convinced that it is. It's just suffering this season, for whatever reason. It's very difficult."
-- York (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Who? I don't know who that it is."
-- Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens, when asked for his impression of rookie Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis
"Once I step on the field it doesn't matter who's out there. I don't pay attention to numbers or names. I go out there and I focus on what I'm supposed to do."
"That's not a slight on him, or whoever he is."
-- Owens (NY Daily News)
"I'm not as much of a Colts fan today as when I received my seat assignment. It's pretty hard to say I want to shell out $1,300 to sit in a crappy corner."
-- Indianapolis Colts season ticket holder Rob Cullin, upset at his seat assignment in the Colts' new home (the charmingly named Lucas Oil Stadium)
"The majority of the people will be happy with their new seats, especially once they get a chance to sit in them."
-- Colts vice president of ticket operations/guest service Larry C. Hall (Indianapolis Star)
"Not really. It's just another mechanism to place the ball. If you line up for a long field goal, it's the same coverage unit, so it's not that unusual."
-- Panthers head coach John Fox, when asked whether he tried a "trick" pooch punt using placekicker John Kasay against the Packers last Sunday because of the potential "element of surprise." The Panthers only had 10 men on the field and the punt was returned for a touchdown.
"The element of surprise."
-- Fox, one question later, when asked why he did not line up punter Jason Baker to punt the ball if he had planned on punting to begin with (http://www.panthers.com/Common/Article.aspx?id=27598 " target="_blank">Panthers.com)
"You don't get to play them all against the Oakland Raiders."
-- Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress, discussing his higher expectations for quarterback Tarvaris Jackson's play against the New York Giants this Sunday
"Changes in history usually occur after some kind of catastrophic event. It may be 9-11, which sort of changed the spirit of America relative to catastrophic events. Pearl Harbor kind of got us ready for World War II, and that was a catastrophic event."
--Alabama coach Nick Saban, correlating losing a football game with tragedy after Alabama lost to Louisiana-Monroe University
"What Coach Saban said did not correlate losing a football game with tragedy, everyone needs to understand that."
-- Alabama football spokesman Jeff Purinton
"He was not equating losing football games to those catastrophic events. The message was that true spirit and unity become evident in the most difficult of times. Those were two tremendous examples that everyone can identify with."
-- Purinton (ESPN.com)
"We have more three-and-outs than anybody in football. We have more negative plays than anybody in football. It's hard playing that way."
-- Herm Edwards, defending the Chiefs' conservative game-planning
"Do I want to play that way? Heck, no. But we have to play that way."
"You have all of these great ideas that you want to use. There are a lot of things other teams are doing that we'd like to do."
"But we know what we are whether we like it or not. It's been 10 weeks. You're not going to all of a sudden evolve into something like New England."
"We're doing things in a way we feel we're capable of doing them."
"Would we like to do some different things? Sure."
"If I'm somebody else, then maybe I do it differently. But I know what I am right now."
-- Herm (Kansas City Star)
"He's our kicker right now. He's going to continue to kick, and hopefully he can make some. If we have to get closer for him, we'll have to get closer to him."
-- Herm, discussing the tenuous hold kicker Dave Rayner has on his job (Kansas City Star)
"Actually it wasn't a thought because over the last 18 to 22 months I didn't experience any of the symptoms I had had previously. Of course, one of the hard things to reenact are the vicious, violent hits on Sunday based on the speed and size of players."
-- Retired Chiefs running back Priest Holmes, when asked if he was worried about paralyzing himself (KCChiefs.com)
"It's just like walking in grass. If you're not careful where you're stepping, you'll get bit by a snake."
-- Steelers right tackle Willie Colon, describing the potential "trap" game against the Jets. In a related story, Colon grew up in the Bronx. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"It was Devin Hester, are you kidding me? It was just cool. I always told [Patrick] Kerney that if I got a big hit that I would do the flex like he did, but you don't think about it in the moment."
-- Seahawks kicker Josh Brown, who celebrated in WWE-style fashion after tackling Hester on a return (Tacoma News-Tribune)
"I haven't been around too much, but I still see my Sea Breeze and my lotion and everything in my locker. I appreciate little things like that."
-- Former Jets running back Curtis Martin, describing the contents of the apparently still-active locker that Jets head coach Eric Mangini maintains for Martin (Yahoo! Sports)
"Everyone was telling me, 'Good job' and stuff like that on the sidelines after the block. So I guess it was a pretty good block.''
-- Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, discussing his pancake block of Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman (Sports Illustrated)
"Like freestyling rap legend Snoop Dogg, Tony Romo has a rare talent for improvisation."
-- Introduction to segment on last Sunday's ESPN Countdown
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23 comments, Last at 25 Nov 2007, 9:50am by JoshuaPerry