On Tuesday, the NFL voted to move the kickoff point from the 30 to the 35, a full 17 years after moving it from the 35 to the 30.
So what will the impact of the change be? With the help of our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau, we tracked down some numbers regarding the impact the last time the change was made. Specifically, we looked at the five years before the move of the kickoff from the 35 to the 30 (1989 through 1993) and the five years after the move (1994 to 1998).
For starters, the number of touchbacks per game dropped from 1.8 to 1.1. For a 256-game season, that equates to 179 more touchbacks — and thus 179 fewer kick returns.
From 1989 through 1993, the league saw 33 touchdowns on kickoff returns. In the five years after the change, the number doubled.
In 1993, the last year of the ball being kicked off from the 35, 27.1 percent of all kicks were touchbacks. In 2010, the last year of the ball being kicked off from the 30, 16.1 percent of all kicks were touchbacks.
Bottom line? While safety will be enhanced given the reduction in the raw number of kickoff returns, field position and thus offense — and thus scoring — will be affected.