OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Friday that the now-illegal dropkick that they used in Week 3 had been approved by the NFL beforehand.
The Ravens attempted a unique onside kick with 2 minutes and 1 second remaining in a 33-28 loss at the Kansas City Chiefs. Flipping the ball high in the air, Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker let it bounce once before kicking it 29 yards downfield, where Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman made the fair catch.
Harbaugh said Ravens were in contact with the league’s officiating office “all the way through” before using it.
“We didn’t just pull it out and decide to try it and sneak it past them,” Harbaugh said. “We explained exactly what we were doing and how it was going to go, and they said it was legal [and] we could do it. We talked to the officials before the game. They called the league office again. They had been in contact with the league office, the officiating office, and they said it was legal.”
The NFL later ruled that Tucker’s attempt is not considered a dropkick because the kicker has to make contact with the ball as it simultaneously hits the ground.
“Probably, the competition committee decided they didn’t want to see it, someone on the competition committee — probably the chairman [Falcons president Rich McKay] — decided with Alberto [Riveron] he didn’t want to see it,” Harbaugh said.
“So now, it’s not legal. So that’s pretty much how it works and how it worked in this case.”