Touchbacks the Tale of Preseason Opening Night

| August 12th, 2011

Here is the report on last night’s preseason openers from PFT:

With the kickoff point moving from the 30 back to the 35, the NFL hopes to reduce injuries during kickoff returns by reducing the raw number of kickoff returns.

And while it’s too early to make a reliable comparison to pre-2011 stats, the ball seems to be flying deep into the end zone, and beyond.

In the Ravens-Eagles game, five kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.  In the Jaguars-Pats game, there were two touchbacks (even though 59 points were scored).  The Broncos-Cowboys game has featured five touchbacks as of this posting.  In Seahawks-Chargers, there has been two touchbacks as of this posting.

But perhaps the most glaring example of the new rule came on the first play of the Cardinals-Raiders game, when kicker Sebastian Janikowski boomed the ball out of the end zone — and possibly through the uprights.

Over time, the rule undoubtedly will result in more touchbacks.  In turn, that will result in fewer points.  And so this rule will have been one of the few changes over the years that will, over time, reduce scoring.

I continue to maintain that this rule change will have a more drastic impact on the Chicago Bears than any other franchise in the sport.  If kickers are able to kick the ball square out of the end zone, it will eliminate the most exciting weapon the Bears possess: Devin Hester.