NFL NextGen Stats turns focus to special teams returns

Returning a kick or punt for a touchdown has never been rarer in the NFL with one coming on average every 30 games. So when there’s a moment like there was Sunday when Nyheim Hines electrified the crowd in Buffalo with not one but two kickoff return scores in the same game, figuring out how it happened becomes a key question. The NFL NextGen Stats group has teamed up with machine learning engineers from Amazon Web Services to develop the first advanced stats model focused on kick and punt returns to quantify it in a new statistic set to be officially released Thursday.