The 7 Longest Kickoff Returns in NFL History
Philadelphia Eagles rookie Josh Huff (pictured) got Sunday’s win over the Titans started with a bang, running the opening kickoff back 107 yards for a touchdown. The Huff score sparked Philly to a 43-24 victory in a game the first-place Eagles never trailed. According to Pro-Football-Reference.com’s database, only seven kickoff returns in NFL history went longer than Huff’s 107, including three of them (!) by one player. Obviously, with a 10-yard end zone attached to a 100-yard regulation field, it’s impossible to run a kick back 110 yards without starting out of bounds, so only kick returns of the 108- and 109-yard variety can top what Huff did this weekend.
Here is a look back (starting with the most recent) at the seven longest kickoff returns in NFL history (both regular season and post-season). All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Jacoby Jones, 2014
The man who owns three of the seven longest kick return scores in NFL history is Baltimore Ravens veteran Jacoby Jones, who added to his prolific career total with a 108-yard return in the fourth quarter of a 43-23 loss to Pittsburgh earlier this month. As we’ll see, Jones is quite accustomed to catching the ball eight yards deep in the end zone and racing the other direction to pay dirt.
Knile Davis, 2013
In the second quarter of a December 2013 game against Denver, Chiefs returner Knile Davis joined the “108+ Club” on a second-quarter kickoff. Davis raced 108 yards the other direction to help give Kansas City the lead, although the home team would eventually end up on the short end of a 35-28 score, despite the longest play in franchise history.
Cordarrelle Patterson, 2013
Only one player in NFL history owns a 109-yard kick return touchdown, and it’s Vikings wideout Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson went as far as he possibly could on the opening kickoff of an October 2013 game against Green Bay, but it wasn’t enough to change the outcome for his team: The Vikes ultimately lost, 44-31.
Jacoby Jones, Super Bowl XLVII
Of Jones’ trio of 108-yard scores in his career, the one that’s easily the most memorable came in Super Bowl XLVII against the 49ers. The Ravens led 21-6 as the second half began, but Jones’s massive return (pictured) gave Baltimore a 28-6 lead. The Ravens would go on to claim the title in New Orleans by a score of 34-31.
Jacoby Jones, 2012
Guess who? Jones’ 108-yard touchdown in the Super Bowl wasn’t even his first of that 2012 Ravens season. Jones also ran back a kick 108 yards a few months earlier, helping the eventual champion Ravens to a 31-29 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on October 14. It wouldn’t surprise us if kickers have stopped trying to get touchbacks altogether when Jacoby Jones is standing in the end zone.
Randall Cobb, 2011
Welcome to the NFL, rookie?! Green Bay return man Randall Cobb made history in his first-ever game as a professional, disobeying his coach’s orders to bring a kickoff out from eight yards deep. But, apparently, Cobb was getting orders from a higher power: “I was just trusting in God,” Cobb said. “He told me to bring it out.” The Packers beat New Orleans 42-34.
Ellis Hobbs, 2007
The New England Patriots put together an undefeated regular season in 2007, and it started in style, with a 38-14 win at the Jets. Ellis Hobbs got the second half of that game underway with a then-record 108-yard kick return, doubling the Patriots’ seven-point lead at the time. Oh, and yes, he looked up at the big screen on his way to enjoy the moment: “Nothing wrong with a little showtime,” he told reporters after the game.
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