Punt and Kick Off Return Records
by Jennifer Jordan
Ted Ginn, Jr., the Miami Dolphin’s first round draft pick, was met with a bit of controversy when his name was called on draft day. Some Miami fans thought the Dolphins would draft a much needed quarterback. Nonetheless, they went a different route: they procured Trent Green and told Ginn that he was “da man” when it came to returns. As he works his way up the receiving depth chart, he’ll likely have a prized pair of fins waiting for Green’s passes. But, until that happens, he’s hoping that the Dolphin’s keep “returning” to him for yardage. The following records give him something to aim for:
Most seasons leading the league in punt return yardage: Three: Les (Speedy) Duncan for San Diego in 1965-1966 and for Washington in 1971 is tied with Rick Upchurch who led the league with Denver in 1976, 1978, and 1982.
Most punt returns for a career: Brian Mitchell returned punts 463 times between 1990 and 2003 with three different teams: Washington, Philadelphia, and the New York Giants.
Most punt returns for a season: When the 1979 Tampa Bay team began to form a defense, their punt returner, Danny Reece, saw 70 opportunities to go the distance.
Most punt returns in a game: Eddie Brown, on October 9, 1977, returned eleven punts in the Washington versus Tampa Bay contest.
Most punt returns for a touchdown in a career: Eric Metcalf took ten punts back for T.D.’s in between 1989 and 2002 with Cleveland, Atlanta, San Diego, Arizona, Carolina, Washington, and Green Bay.
Most yards in a game on kick off returns: Tyrone Hughes, when the New Orleans Saints and the L.A. Rams played on October 23, 1994, gained a total of 304 yards returning K.O.’s.
Longest Kickoff Return in History: One hundred and six yards is a long way to run to return a kick off, but not long enough to defer Al Carmichael, Noland Smith, and Roy Green. Each of these men achieved this feat: Carmichael on October 7, 1956 when Green Bay played Chicago; Smith on December 17, 1967 when Kansas City played Denver; and Green on October 21, 1979 when St. Louis played Dallas.
Highest Kickoff return average:Gale Sayers, perhaps football fans have heard of him, had a career average of 30.56 for the Chicago Bears between 1965 and 1971.
Most kick offs returned for a touchdown in a career:In the event someone can return a kickoff seven times in their career, they will own the record. For now, it is shared by the men who have taken six kick offs for six points: Ollie Matson, Gale Sayers, Travis Williams, Mel Gray, and Dante Hall.
Most seasons leading the league in kick off returns:Abe Woodson led the league for three years when he played for San Francisco. He led it in 1959, 1962 and 1963.
So, there you have it: Ted Ginn, Jr., these records are yours for the breaking.