Roger Goodell says kickoffs likely to stay at 35-yard line
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org February 3, 2012 11:20PM
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell held his annual pre-Super Bowl news conference Friday. | David J. Phillip~AP
Updated: March 5, 2012 8:08AM
INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL moved up kickoffs in the name of safety, and it appears commissioner Roger Goodell won’t move it back this offseason.
“We knew there would be less kickoff returns,” Goodell told the Sun-Times on Friday. “But we thought safety was really a part of the initiative until we come up with a better solution.”
Asked if the league would consider moving kickoffs from the 35 back to the 30, Goodell said, “We will evaluate again this offseason. But I don’t think we’re moving it back.”
In 2010, there were 416 touchbacks (16.4 percent of all kickoffs, according to STATS), and Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff led the league with 40.
In 2011, there were 1,120 touchbacks (43.5 percent), and 11 players had more than 40. New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead led the league with 68.
The Bears were against the rule change when it was proposed last offseason. Bears special-teams coach Dave Toub believed it punished teams with strong return units.
The Bears’ average starting point in 2011 was the 23.6-yard line, which ranked fifth in the league. Their average starting point in 2010 was the 31.5-yard line, which ranked second.
They had only five touchbacks in 2010 as opposed to 20 this season.