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SAM I Am
I do believe so.

It’s obvious they wanted to cut down on kickoff returns starting in the 2011 season when they moved the kickoff spot from the 30 yard line up to the 35 yard line, and it worked.

In 2010 --- when the kickoff spot was at the 30 yard line --- teams returned 80.1% of the kickoffs.

Since then --- starting in 2011 when the kickoff spot was moved up to the 35 yard line --- there has been a steady decline in the percentage of kickoffs being returned.

In 2011 it dropped to 53.5% returned, and has continued to decline. Last season only 41.1% of all kickoffs were returned.

Now comes the part where they outsmarted themselves.

In their hopes of pretty much doing away with kickoff returns altogether, they decided that if the team takes a touchback, they will now be rewarded for it by getting the ball at the 25 yard line instead of the 20 yard line. Not a bad incentive for the receiving team, but not so good for the kicking team.

BACKFIRE!!!

The coaches didn’t like this at all, so now we somewhat get what is known as the mortar kick.

From one of the articles I linked to:

"The quintessential mortar is if, on the last play of a drive, if you had a personal foul-type penalty, you're going to kick off from the 50-yard line, you kick a high lob kick instead of getting a touchback to pin people there," said Mike Westhoff, a longtime NFL special teams coach who now consults for high-profile college teams. "That's not the same as what people are talking about doing. Some people, if they have a good coverage team and a good kicker, they'll hit the regular kickoff, but they'll take a little off it and try to pin inside the 25."

I’ve noticed quite a bit of that this year watching the games. (I’m not sure what the percentage of touchbacks is this year up to this point, but in the first two weeks there were more touchbacks in 2015 than from the first two weeks of 2016.)

From another one of the articles I linked to:

“When you simply compare the first two weeks of the 2015 campaign to the first two weeks this season, and when you remove onside kicks and kicks coming from better or worse field positions as a result of penalties, you can see that touchbacks have actually become less frequent.

There have been 311 kickoffs from the 35-yard line this season, and a total of 120 of those kicks have been returned. At this same point last season, there had been 313 kickoffs from the 35, but only 99 were returned. So if we're comparing the first two weeks of 2015 with the first two weeks of 2016, the kickoff return rate on regular kicks from the 35 actually increased from 31.6 percent to 38.6 percent.”

This year, more so than in years past, I have noticed kickoffs landing inside the 5 and around the goal line where the kick returner has no option to take a knee, or just can’t make himself do so when he fields it just a couple of yards deep in the end zone. (I’ve also noticed that these kicks are landing not only around the goal line, but also close to the sidelines.)

So now to prevent the receiving team from starting at the 25 yard line, I believe coaches are telling their kickers to make adjustments --- shorten their approach to the ball, set it up on the tee at a different angle to get more height and less distance, etc… --- in order to drop the ball as close as they can around the goal line to force the other team to run it back. And more often than not, they aren’t making it out to the 25 yard line. Of course, if you have a dangerous returner back there and your suicide squad is more into self-preservation than suicide, the coaches probably just tell their kickers, “boot it out of the end zone, our kick coverage sucks”.

The bottom line for me is that I didn’t like it at first -- the NFL cutting down on kickoff returns that is.

Let’s face it, it is probably the most exciting play in football, and without a doubt one of, if not the, most dangerous plays in football due to the high-speed collisions. But as long as it isn’t completely eliminated, I can live with less returns.

With that said, give the team who takes the touchback the ball at the 20 yard line, not the 25 yard line.

And for fuck’s sake while you’re at it, change the stupid 33 yard extra point (field goal) attempt. Move it up 8 yards and make it a 25 yarder.

I won’t be holding my breath for either rule change.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap300000064...nating-kickoffs

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2665076...rule-backfiring

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap300000068...up-in-preseason
Phits

Personally, I'd get rid of the extra point (kick) entirely, but I would keep the option to go for two.

QUOTE (SAM I Am @ Dec 28 2016, 03:58 PM) *
I do believe so.

It’s obvious they wanted to cut down on kickoff returns starting in the 2011 season when they moved the kickoff spot from the 30 yard line up to the 35 yard line, and it worked.

In 2010 --- when the kickoff spot was at the 30 yard line --- teams returned 80.1% of the kickoffs.

Since then --- starting in 2011 when the kickoff spot was moved up to the 35 yard line --- there has been a steady decline in the percentage of kickoffs being returned.

In 2011 it dropped to 53.5% returned, and has continued to decline. Last season only 41.1% of all kickoffs were returned.

Now comes the part where they outsmarted themselves.

In their hopes of pretty much doing away with kickoff returns altogether, they decided that if the team takes a touchback, they will now be rewarded for it by getting the ball at the 25 yard line instead of the 20 yard line. Not a bad incentive for the receiving team, but not so good for the kicking team.

BACKFIRE!!!

The coaches didn’t like this at all, so now we somewhat get what is known as the mortar kick.

From one of the articles I linked to:

"The quintessential mortar is if, on the last play of a drive, if you had a personal foul-type penalty, you're going to kick off from the 50-yard line, you kick a high lob kick instead of getting a touchback to pin people there," said Mike Westhoff, a longtime NFL special teams coach who now consults for high-profile college teams. "That's not the same as what people are talking about doing. Some people, if they have a good coverage team and a good kicker, they'll hit the regular kickoff, but they'll take a little off it and try to pin inside the 25."

I’ve noticed quite a bit of that this year watching the games. (I’m not sure what the percentage of touchbacks is this year up to this point, but in the first two weeks there were more touchbacks in 2015 than from the first two weeks of 2016.)

From another one of the articles I linked to:

“When you simply compare the first two weeks of the 2015 campaign to the first two weeks this season, and when you remove onside kicks and kicks coming from better or worse field positions as a result of penalties, you can see that touchbacks have actually become less frequent.

There have been 311 kickoffs from the 35-yard line this season, and a total of 120 of those kicks have been returned. At this same point last season, there had been 313 kickoffs from the 35, but only 99 were returned. So if we're comparing the first two weeks of 2015 with the first two weeks of 2016, the kickoff return rate on regular kicks from the 35 actually increased from 31.6 percent to 38.6 percent.”

This year, more so than in years past, I have noticed kickoffs landing inside the 5 and around the goal line where the kick returner has no option to take a knee, or just can’t make himself do so when he fields it just a couple of yards deep in the end zone. (I’ve also noticed that these kicks are landing not only around the goal line, but also close to the sidelines.)

So now to prevent the receiving team from starting at the 25 yard line, I believe coaches are telling their kickers to make adjustments --- shorten their approach to the ball, set it up on the tee at a different angle to get more height and less distance, etc… --- in order to drop the ball as close as they can around the goal line to force the other team to run it back. And more often than not, they aren’t making it out to the 25 yard line. Of course, if you have a dangerous returner back there and your suicide squad is more into self-preservation than suicide, the coaches probably just tell their kickers, “boot it out of the end zone, our kick coverage sucks”.

The bottom line for me is that I didn’t like it at first -- the NFL cutting down on kickoff returns that is.

Let’s face it, it is probably the most exciting play in football, and without a doubt one of, if not the, most dangerous plays in football due to the high-speed collisions. But as long as it isn’t completely eliminated, I can live with less returns.

With that said, give the team who takes the touchback the ball at the 20 yard line, not the 25 yard line.

And for fuck’s sake while you’re at it, change the stupid 33 yard extra point (field goal) attempt. Move it up 8 yards and make it a 25 yarder.

I won’t be holding my breath for either rule change.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap300000064...nating-kickoffs

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2665076...rule-backfiring

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap300000068...up-in-preseason

The Franchise
The kickoff used to be the most exciting play in football, worthy of surrounding commercial breaks. Now we have to watch 3 minutes of stupid commercials, followed by a touchback, followed by more commercials. Fuck Roger Goodell.

As for danger, punt returns seem far more dangerous to me. At least on a kickoff you aren't going to get speared while looking up at the sky.
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