Yahoo Sports – Say, did you remember that the NFL is moving kickoff touchbacks to the 25-yard-line this year? Devin Hester did, and he’s none too pleased. “It’s like taking away a job from people,” the Falcons return man told ESPN, and by “people” he means himself. Hester is one of the most notable return men in NFL history, boasting five kickoff returns for touchdowns and a dramatic TD return to start Super Bowl XLI.
I would be bullshit too if I was Devin Hester. Dude was once one of the most electric players in all of the NFL, despite only playing in a fraction of the game. He was legitimately feared and only touched the ball a handful of times a game. Definition of an X-Factor.
So now in an effort to reduce the number of players smashing their brains in, the NFL is moving touchbacks out to the 25 yard line this season. For a guy like Hester who averages 24.9 yards per kickoff return this essentially negates his effectiveness. Sure he might pop one off for a TD, but now the difference between a bum averaging 18 yards per return and a stud averaging 24.9 yards per return is nil because teams will just encourage guys to kneel it. Kneel it and we’re 25% of the way to scoring. So kickoff return specialists are going to die a slow death until the NFL just removes the kickoff entirely. Better work on your punt returns, Devin.