Inside The Bills

Impact of new kickoff line

Posted by Chris Brown on March 22, 2011 – 1:26 pm

The impact of moving the kickoff line back to the 35, which is where it was 17 years ago, will go far beyond improving player safety.

With it becoming easier for kickers to achieve touchbacks, the need for a kickoff specialist will be lessened. It will also hurt the teams that are blessed with a strong legged kicker like the Ravens. More than 50 percent of Billy Cundiff’s kickoffs went for touchbacks as Baltimore was far and away the league leader in touchbacks with 40. The next closest team was Oakland with 29 thanks to Sebastian Janikowski. Now with the kickoff line moved up more NFL clubs will be able to neutralize the league’s better returners more effectively.

In terms of a touchbacks for versus touchbacks against, the Ravens are not surprisingly tops in the league at a plus 29. Oakland is second at plus 17. Philadelphia (+12), New England (+12), Chicago (+11) and Jacksonville (+10) are the only other teams with a double digit positive differential.

In fact only three other NFL clubs Dallas (+8), Arizona (+4) and Green Bay (+3) had positive differentials in the league. So the other 23 clubs were either even or negative in touchback differential. Denver was worst in the league with a minus-14 differential (22 for, 36 against), followed by Detroit (-12), Tampa (-10), San Francisco (-9) and San Diego (-9).

Buffalo was a minus-8 last season with 8 touchbacks four versus 16 touchbacks against tied with the New York Giants.

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