Week 1 had lowest kickoff return rate since 2000

The NFL has been working to cut down the number of kickoff returns in games in recent years and they will likely be happy with how the first week of the 2023 season played out on that front.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Week One saw the lowest kickoff return rate of any week since 2000. There were returns on 20.5 percent of the kickoffs in the 16 games played from last Thursday to Monday night.

The NFL implemented a new rule this offseason that gives teams the ball at the 25-yard-line if they fair catch kickoffs inside the 25-yard-line, but that was not a significant driver in the low return rate. There was one fair catch in the first weekend of action, so touchbacks accounted for the vast majority of unreturned kicks.

Further changes to kickoffs are being explored by the league, so they're sure to be keeping a close eye on how things continue to play out as the season unfolds.