Touchbacks Skyrocket to 43.5 Percent

Paul Carr, for the ESPN Stats & Info blog:

Expressed as a percentage, 53.4 percent of kickoffs were returned this season, a huge drop from 80.1 percent in 2010.

In a related note, touchbacks skyrocketed to 43.5 percent this season, more than two and a half times last year’s rate of 16.4 percent.

I was pretty close. My analysis of the new rule, based on last year’s kickoffs, suggested just under 40 percent touchbacks. The difference is small but perhaps meaningful. While returners brought back more deep kicks, kickers may have used the shorter field try for distance over hangtime.

(Via BGN)