ITP Glossary: Target Distance Punted

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From gunner to directional punting, commentators rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. Inside The Pylon’s glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations, as well as image and video examples. Please contact us with any terms or phrases you’d like to know more about.

Target Distance Punted

Target distance punted (TDP) measures how effectively a punter delivers the distance expected in various field positions  which is not always as far as possible. For open field punts target distance is the league average in open field situations over the course of the time period measured. For pin deep situations the target distance is the difference between the yard line on which the ball is kicked and the opponent’s 10-yard line. Since TDP is designed to calculate only a punter’s impact on field position, returns are not included, but touchbacks are counted.

The formulas for calculating target distance is:

Open-Field Target Distance = League average gross distance of open-field punts

Pin-Deep Target Distance = 90 – Line of scrimmage distance from punt team’s goal line

Once the target distance is calculated for each punt, the formula for TDP on kicks not resulting in a touchback is as follows:

TDP = (Punt Distance)/(Target Distance)

For example, a punter kicking from the 20-yard line who delivers a 48-yard punt during a period in which the average open field punt is 48 yards has a TDP of 100%. The same punter covering 24 yards from the same location would have a TDP of 50%, and a punt of 36 yards would result a TDP of 75%.

A punt from the opponent’s 45-yard line would have a target distance of just 35 yards – 90 minus the 55-yard distance from the kicking team’s goal line. In this case, a fair-catch at the 15 would have a TDP of 86% (30-yard kick/35 yards target distance).

In the event of a touchback, 20 yards is subtracted from the punt to account for the yardage reclaimed by the touchback. For punts with a touchback, the formula is as follows:

TDP = (Punt Distance – 20)/(Target Distance)

As an example, a punt from an opponent’s 40-yard line that goes into the end zone has a TDP of 67% because the punt covered only 20 of the 30 target yards, accounting for the 20 yards reclaimed by the touchback.

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Chuck Zodda wrote this entryFollow Chuck on Twitter @ITP_ChuckZ.

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