What is a Touchdown Return in Football?
Kickoff and Punt Returns
Both kickoff and punt returns are special teams plays with one team set up as returners and the other as the coverage team. The coverage team kicks the ball downfield and tries to tackle the return man. If they fail to do so and the return man runs it all the way back for a touchdown, it is called a touchdown return.
Interception and Fumble Returns
Strategy and Importance of Returns
Kickoffs and punts require a lot of thought on both how to cover and how to return them. Return teams set up blocking schemes in order to free up a running lane for the returner. They are in sync before the play with where the returner is going to go.
Coverage teams attempt to funnel the returner to make tackling them easier. Some teams use the sidelines as an extra defender limiting the space while others funnel towards the middle and where they will send their best tacklers.
Returns can change the dynamic of a game in an instance. If a team is able to get a touchdown return it then does not have to go on offense and complete a long drive. Getting a return touchdown swings the momentum and gets the team pumped up.
The best returners are ones that have both speed and vision. The speed is important to outrun the coverage team, however, it takes more than that to consistently return touchdowns. A returner needs to be able to see the field and make the right cut, taking the best path down the field.