The Edmond Sun

Sports

October 10, 2013

OPINION: 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
Sports
  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • spts—UCO Kalynn Schrock smirk.jpg UCO’s Schrock earns NFCA Pitcher of Week honor

    Central Oklahoma’s Kalynn Schrock has been selected the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division II National Pitcher of the Week, it was announced Wednesday.
    The senior left-hander from Choctaw had a dominating performance in the circle last week, going 3-0 with a save and an 0.48 earned run average. She gave up just 10 hits in 29 innings while striking out 32 as opponents hit just .106.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • OCU takes confidence into SAC men’s golf championships

    Oklahoma City University enters the Sooner Athletic Conference men’s golf championships Monday and Tuesday at Tascosa Golf Club’s LaPaloma Course coming off an historic performance.
    In the Oklahoma Baptist Invitational, the Stars shot a program-record 265 in the first round en route to setting OCU records for strokes under par in a 36-hole tournament at 29 on April 7-8 at John Conrad Golf Course in Midwest City.
    OCU takes aim at its fifth SAC championship in a row. The Stars won the program’s 17th SAC title in 18 years at Dornick Hills Golf & Country Club. OCU owns 21 league championships, 19 in the SAC.

    April 18, 2014

  • spts-ESF Neil Knight.jpg Wolves claim runner-up crowns

    The Edmond Santa Fe boys track team flexed its muscles in the hurdles and distance races while the Lady Wolves used improved performances in the relays as both teams came away from the April 11 Putnam City Invitational with runner-up trophies. 

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-LU Stan Holt head men's basketball.jpg Langston University names new head coach for men's basketball

    Langston University has named Stan Holt as head coach for the men’s basketball team.
    “We are excited and pleased to welcome Stan Holt — he is young and eager,” said Mike Garrett, Langston athletic director.
     

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-EN Haley Felix blocked.jpg North soccer teams produce shutouts

    Edmond North’s defense keeps pushing the Lady Huskies higher in the district standings.
    Pitching yet another shutout Tuesday at North High School, Edmond North blanked Moore 4-0 for a perfect 3-0 district mark.
    “Defense as a whole played well once again,” Lady Husky coach Corbin Frank noted. “Senior Shanna Rolfs and junior Chandler Wilson led the way, keeping Moore from ever really threatening the goal.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 041514 Nor-Mor b 01.jpg SLIDESHOW: North soccer squads take on Moore

    The Edmond North soccer squads welcomed the Moore Lions for a pair of games Tuesday evening.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • 041514 DC-McG 01.jpg SLIDESHOW: Deer Creek wins at Bishop McGuinness

    The Deer Creek Antlers traveled to Bishop McGuinness Tuesday afternoon for a twin bill.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg OPINION: Wildcats aren't champs but we're all still watching Calipari

    Kentucky coach John Calipari is a college basketball phenom for his ability to knit together championship-caliber teams of freshmen. How long will Calipari's success last as other coaches catch on?

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oklahoma City FC invites fans to design club scarf

    Oklahoma’s top-tier soccer club, Oklahoma City FC, invites soccer fanatics across Oklahoma to be a part of its future by designing its scarf.
    Scarves are a tradition among soccer clubs and are typically a team’s most recognizable accessory. Scarves are a matter of pride for hard-core supporters and feature team colors, logo and inspiring slogans. Scarves are a part of a team’s identity.

    April 16, 2014

Photos