North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Z_CNHI News Service

October 10, 2013

Kickoff returns less thrilling after NFL rules change

Seattle’s Steven Hauschka placed the ball on the tee and prepared to kick off against Indianapolis to start last Sunday’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium. At first, it was hard to spot Colts return man David Reed, who was standing almost directly below the goal post – far behind the goal-line.

The boot sailed high and deep where Reed caught it eight yards deep into the end zone and began moving forward. Officially he was credited with a 26-yard return, but the ball rested on the 18-yard line. That’s two yards back of where the Colts would have had the ball if he had simply taken a knee.

The crowd grumbled.

A few minutes later after the Seahawks scored, Reed, again, took the kickoff out of the end zone and made it to the 17-yard line. This time, even more loudly, the crowd voiced more displeasure with Reed’s decision.

Finally, later in the period following a Seahawks touchdown, Hauschka drove a third kickoff far into the end zone and Reed took the touchback. This time the crowd roared its approval.

This is the life of a kick return specialist in the National Football League – damned if you do, damned if you don’t. When the NFL changed the rules in 2011 to move the kickoff from the 30-yard line to the 35, it did two things: It made a violent game a little safer, but it appears it may have taken one of football’s most exciting plays – the kickoff return – out of the game.

The impact of the change has been dramatic. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2010, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, 16.4 percent of kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. In the first two full seasons of play following implementation of the new rule, 44 percent of kickoffs were not returned. Through the first five weeks of the 2013 season, the number of touchbacks stands at slightly above 61 percent.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Church's denied request for National Guard visit draws national attention

    A Missouri church finds itself in the middle of a media storm after the Missouri National Guard, citing short notice and time constraints, was not able to fulfill a request last week to appear at the church’s vacation Bible school.

    August 1, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Impeachment arms Democrats, doesn't end the Obama disaster

    Republicans may have grounds to impeach President Barack Obama but they would be daft to pursue a case they cannot win in a Senate controlled by Democrats. Impeachment would only drive the Democrats' fundraising and potentially squander the GOP's best opportunity in years to capture both houses of Congress then, in two years, the White House.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140727-AMX-GUNS271.jpg Beretta, other gun makers heading to friendlier states

    In moving south and taking 160 jobs with it, Beretta joins several other prominent gunmakers abandoning liberal states that passed tough gun laws after the Newtown shooting.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.22 PM.png VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner

    A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Grandstands feel a little empty at NASCAR races

    Two decades after NASCAR started running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the crowds have thinned considerably. It's probably no reflection on the sport's massive following, which stretches from coast to coast, but it surely doesn't NASCAR's image help when the cameras pan across all of those empty seats.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014