NY Jets Star Thomas Morstead Weighs in on NFL Kick-Off Rule Changes and Reflects on Iconic Super Bowl Moment

Thomas Morstead, now with the New York Jets, offers insights on NFL rule changes, as well as reflecting on his Super Bowl moment.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-04-17

Richard Graves

7 minutes read

Insights from a Super Bowl Champion

Current New York Jets punter, and former Super Bowl champion with the New Orleans Saints, Thomas Morstead, recently shared his insights on the NFL's updated kick-off rules, shedding light on potential impacts on the league, as well as reflecting on his historic Super Bowl moment. In an exclusive interview with, Morstead delved into the nuances of these changes and their implications for the league.

Assessing the New Kick-Off Rules

Regarding the revised kick-off rule, Morstead expressed a mixed sentiment. He acknowledged the potential excitement it could bring to the game, stating, "It's going to be more of an exciting play." However, he lamented the loss of the opportunity to surprise opponents and potentially shift momentum earlier in the game. Morstead emphasised the need for time to gauge the effectiveness of the new rule, suggesting that its true impact remains to be seen.

As far as the kick-off rule, time will tell. I do think there's some positives about it. I think the touchback percentage was in the seventies (77.2%) last year, so often nothing happened. I do think it's a disappointing that there's no opportunity to surprise a team if you wanted to try to steal a possession. You don't have the opportunity to do that in the first three quarters of the game. Other than that, I think time will tell if it's a good rule change, so we'll see”, he added. 

Evaluating the Onside Kick Alteration

The conversation then turned to the NFL's alteration of the onside kick, limiting its occurrence to the fourth quarter of games. Morstead voiced his reservations about this change, questioning the restriction on teams' ability to take calculated risks. He remarked, "I think it's kind of silly that a team can't take a chance to do something risky if they so choose to try to get a possession back." Despite this criticism, Morstead recognised the league's intention to enhance the excitement of return plays, albeit at the expense of strategic manoeuvres.

He expressed scepticism about the impact of such limitations on the game, stating, "It’s like telling a team they're not allowed to do a Hail Mary or not allowed to run the ball on second down. I don't think that's good for the game." However, Morstead acknowledged the potential for increased excitement through incentivising return plays, highlighting the league's efforts to enhance the overall entertainment value of NFL games.

Reflecting on His Iconic Super Bowl 44 Moment

Delving into a pivotal moment in NFL history, Morstead revisited the legendary onside kick during the second half of Super Bowl 44, a game that saw the New Orleans Saints emerge victorious against the Indianapolis Colts in 2010. 

Reflecting on the nerves and anticipation leading up to the play, Morstead admitted, "Me being nervous would be an understatement. I don't even know how I would describe it really. It was a frantic halftime just thinking about it and having to be alone with my own thoughts. The whole halftime, it was just very stressful. The rules were very different back then, so it wasn’t as risky as it would have been now, but it still took some courage to do it for sure.”

Morstead Saints.webp

Image credit: Saints Wire

Despite the rule differences between then and now, Morstead emphasised the enduring impact of that iconic play. He stressed that its significance transcends any rule changes, underscoring the privilege of being part of such a historic moment. Morstead expressed gratitude for his role in shaping the outcome of Super Bowl 44 and contributing to the rich tapestry of NFL history.

“No matter what happens in the future of the game, that play is special just because it was special to be a part of it. It doesn't make it more special or less special because of rule changing. To be a part of that was a really amazing thing for me personally and for our team and to be a part of the cities of New Orleans history, it's just been a blessing all the way around”, he concluded. 

The Continued Evolution of the NFL

As the NFL continues to evolve with rule adjustments aimed at enhancing the game's excitement and safety, voices like Thomas Morstead's offer valuable perspectives on the balance between innovation and tradition. With his unique insights as a seasoned player, Morstead provides invaluable commentary on the ever-changing landscape of professional football.

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

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