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Through two weeks, more kickoffs are being returned

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2016, file photo, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson runs up field during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers in Minneapolis. Patterson has enjoyed some of the longest kickoff returns of his career for Minnesota against rival Green Bay, with the Packers on deck this week. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King, File) AP

The NFL’s new touchback rule appears to be backfiring.

Although the league wanted to reduce the number of kickoff returns and therefore the number of injuries when it moved touchbacks from the 20-yard line to the 25, the opposite appears to be happening. According to the Baltimore Sun, 37.3 percent of kickoffs have been returned this season, an increase from 30.1 percent of kickoffs returned through the first two weeks of 2015.

That’s because some teams have employed the strategy of purposely kicking short in order to pin the opposing returner between the goal line and the 25. Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg’s team doesn’t do that on every kickoff, but he explained that it can be an effective strategy.

“People don’t necessarily want to give up five yards,” he said. “We, on special teams, fight for every inch. If you’re saying, ‘We’re going to take five yards from you,’ we’re going to fight for every inch, not just five yards.”

Other special teams coordinators probably would have told their owners that before the owners voted to change the rule. This appears to be a rule change that the owners made without getting enough input from the coaches.

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22 Responses to “Through two weeks, more kickoffs are being returned”
  1. daaabears says: Sep 22, 2016 6:14 AM

    If it does go into the endzone, and your’e not the second coming of Devin Hestor, take a knee.

  2. daaabears says: Sep 22, 2016 6:15 AM

    #Hester (it’s early)

  3. PhD says: Sep 22, 2016 6:46 AM

    SHOCKER! Where’s my surprised face icon?

  4. exinsidetrader says: Sep 22, 2016 7:17 AM

    The NFL Head Office reminds me of professional politicians in action — they have no clue how the real world works or the unintended consequences of their policies.

    This result was predictable (and was so predicted) by everyone except the NFL.

  5. themikegun says: Sep 22, 2016 7:26 AM

    Roger had an expensive report compiled by Ted Wells and Exponent that indicates less kickoffs will be returned by moving the ball to the 25 on touchbacks. Exponent stands by their findings.

  6. rportkid says: Sep 22, 2016 7:28 AM

    Is anyone with a brain surprised? When is the last time the buffoons running the NFL made a smart decision? I sure can’t remember.

  7. chicagosportsfan11 says: Sep 22, 2016 7:36 AM

    I guess we really didn’t think this through.

    – NFL

  8. swhughes81 says: Sep 22, 2016 7:40 AM

    I’m sure this makes the owners have to poop

  9. mrbigass says: Sep 22, 2016 7:41 AM

    I see lots of receivers catch the ball in the end zone and bring it out anyway. And they rarely get past the 25. Not sure I understand the logic in that….

  10. brwmstr says: Sep 22, 2016 7:49 AM

    SHOCKING…said no one with a brain

  11. leroyquimby says: Sep 22, 2016 7:54 AM

    The real question is “If more kickoffs are being returned, are more injuries resulting?”

  12. captainwhodat says: Sep 22, 2016 8:17 AM

    well, guess this change has had an unintended affect (opposite affect of what was projected)…sorta like the trade agreements this country has entered into…

  13. frpsr says: Sep 22, 2016 8:29 AM

    Oh I am fairly certain that if the commissioner were to don a stylish cape , and I don’t think I am making an Okefenokee argument , I think the eyes would be on him .
    Perhaps while the “eyes” are being diverted the Nay’s may be converted to Ayes ! It is all the same to superhero types . Example the highway , or , the may way reasoning common to the type . There is a kinder gentler form of replacing one id for the other . Happy is the paying customer that has something substantial for his money , and time .
    That , and while every one has their eyes on him , the busy , busy , commissioner could be doing some real solid work ; Making the “NFL” brand synonymous with the timelessness that is generally only accorded in such lofty recognition in poetry . That little ditty , “Ozymandias” leaps to mind .

  14. jolly1234 says: Sep 22, 2016 9:28 AM

    So, more are being returned… nobody is surprised by that. Question is where is the new avg starting position compared to last year? And as Leroyquimby asked, are there more injuries as a result?

    My personal opinion is that the owners/NFL are not surprised by this either. They wanted to make the game more exciting and were able to pretend they cared about the players in the process. Everyone laughs at their ineptitude – but they got exactly what they wanted all along.

  15. gtodriver says: Sep 22, 2016 9:37 AM

    daaabears says:

    If it does go into the endzone, and your’e not the second coming of Devin Hestor, take a knee.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Through two games, the Vikings are averaging 41 yards per kickoff return.

  16. Getoffmylawn! says: Sep 22, 2016 9:43 AM

    And the number of injuries during these plays?

  17. selldannysell says: Sep 22, 2016 9:43 AM

    exinsidetrader says:
    Sep 22, 2016 7:17 AM

    The NFL Head Office reminds me of professional politicians in action — they have no clue how the real world works or the unintended consequences of their policies.

    This result was predictable (and was so predicted) by everyone except the NFL.

    ———————————————————

    Yet people still buy tickets, watch on TV, and spend outrageous amounts on jerseys.

  18. selldannysell says: Sep 22, 2016 9:45 AM

    This appears to be ANOTHER rule change that the owners made without getting enough input from the coaches.

    There, fixed that last sentence of the column for you.

  19. 8oneanddones says: Sep 22, 2016 9:51 AM

    Remember when they moved the kickoff back to the 30 because there were too many boring touchbacks? I’m not that old, I swear.

  20. chippys lost binky says: Sep 22, 2016 9:58 AM

    Surprising absolutely no one. Everyone commenting anywhere when the idea was first floated forecasted this outcome. We are now all poking fun at the owners that voted it in but perhaps this was the real objective all along. They can be among the exciting plays in the game, maybe the real idea was to increase them.

  21. preposterousstatementtournament says: Sep 22, 2016 10:07 AM

    Are the people that implement these rules *actually* idiots, or do they do these things under a PR scheme?
    Because — as many above have mentioned — EVERYONE saw this coming.

  22. fatsolio says: Sep 22, 2016 10:11 AM

    You mean the NFL made a stupid rule change that does the exact opposite of what they wanted? Never!

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