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New Kickoff Rule – Week 5

October 3rd, 2007

It’s been two weeks since we last looked at the kickoff data to see the impact of the new kickoff rule. So let’s jump right in and take a look at the latest numbers through week 5 of the 2007 season.

Season(s) Kickoff Start # Kickoffs Kickoff Land Avg. TB TB%
2005-2006 35 14,496 5.56 4334 29.90%
2007 30 3,007 8.15 362 12.04%

Compared to the numbers through week 3, the average landing spot of kickoffs from the 30 has changed from the 8.24 yard line to the 8.15 yard line. The percentage of kickoffs from the 30 that are touchbacks has increased from 11.97% to 12.04%. The kickoffs are going a little deeper and the touchbacks are up slightly.

These numbers have not changed drastically from week-to-week during this season. The average landing spot has been around the 8 yard line and the touchback percentage has been around 12%.

Here are the kickoff return numbers through week 5, based on the kickoff starting line.

Season(s) Kickoff Start # Returns Return Avg. Return End Avg. TD TD%
2005-2006 35 9,310 20.35 26.99 72 0.77%
2007 30 2,513 21.89 30.24 25 0.99%

Compared to the numbers through week 3, the average return on kickoffs from the 30 has increased from 21.72 to 21.89. The average ending spot of the return has increased from 30.17 to 30.24. The big surprise is the change in touchdown percentage compared to 2 weeks ago. The touchdown percentage has increased 65% from 0.60% to 0.99%.

In the last two weeks, there have been 15 returns for touchdown on kickoffs from the 30 yard line, compared to 10 for the first three weeks combined. Here is the week-by-week breakdown of kickoff returns.

  Kickoff Start # Returns Return Avg. Return End Avg. TD TD%
2007 week 1 30 490 21.33 29.94 4 0.82%
2007 week 2 30 509 21.91 29.68 2 0.39%
2007 week 3 30 526 21.89 30.87 4 0.76%
2007 week 4 30 517 22.74 30.65 9 1.74%
2007 week 5 30 471 21.51 30.03 6 1.27%

Looks like I picked the wrong week to skip publishing the kickoff data! Week 4 had nine kickoffs from the 30 returned for touchdown, a whopping (relatively) 1.74%. Even though the week 5 percentage of 1.27% on 6 returns for touchdown is not as high, it’s still much higher than any of the first three weeks.

Here is a list of the weeks from the 2005-2007 seasons with the highest percentage of kickoffs returned for touchdown.

  Kickoff Start Returns TD TD%
2005 week 4 35 297 6 2.02%
2007 week 4 30 517 9 1.74%
2005 week 2 35 424 7 1.65%
2006 week 13 35 308 5 1.62%
2006 week 2 35 376 6 1.60%
2006 week 6 35 341 5 1.47%
2006 week 10 35 364 5 1.37%
2006 week 5 35 315 4 1.27%
2007 week 5 30 471 6 1.27%
2005 week 9 35 272 3 1.10%

Both of the past two weeks of this season are in the top 10, with week 4 having the 2nd highest percentage of kickoffs returned for touchdown. We’ll continue to monitor the touchdown percentages to see if these are just data spikes (which the table shows have happened in previous seasons) or an upward trend.