Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Impact of New Kickoff Rule

The first week of data is in on the new rule moving kickoffs back to the 30-yard line from the 35, and Marty at has been crunching the numbers to study the impact.

The average length of returns on kickoffs from the 30 in 2007 is 21.16, up 0.81 yard from returns on kickoffs from the 35 in 2005-6. The average change in field position at the end of the return has increased 2.79 yards, from the 26.99 yard line in 2005-06 to the 29.78 yard line in 2007.

As for kickers who had the highest percentage of touchbacks in Week 1, the winner is Ryan Succop of South Carolina, who had four of his five kickoffs result in touchbacks. Jared Develli of Virginia Tech is second and Adi Kunalic of Nebraska is third.

Also of note: Marty discovered that roughly 50 kickoffs in the first week were scored as starting from the 35 rather than the 30, even though there was no penalty that moved the kickoff starting line. As Marty pointed out, "It appears some official scorers simply forgot to change the starting line of the kickoffs to the 30 instead of the 35 as they entered the plays. Therefore, those kickoffs are not part of the totals for 2007."

Note to official scorers: Get it together, OK?

Marty also has posted complete stats for every team for Week 1, so be sure to check his site.

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