Marquette King made a splash last night when he did a series of dances, including riding the pony, after pinning Denver inside the 5-yard line. He followed up the next punt with a dance as well, duplicating Von Miller’s sack dance.
This was Oakland’s–and King’s–first primetime appearance of 2016, but he has been a hidden treasure all season.
He started off in the first game against New Orleans, and then broke out a multi-layered celebration after another punt that was downed inside the 10-yard line against Atlanta, featuring some sort of running man dance, and a fanning motion, among other things.
A couple of weeks after that performance, he was in Baltimore, and had perhaps his best game. That included another downed punt, that prompted King to break out the Ray Lewis dance.
Most punters don’t dance. But most punters also don’t run for a first down after a bobbled snap, like he did against Jacksonville on 4th and 24 earlier this year either.
In addition to the dancing, and the running for first downs, though, King is also just a really good punter. He has a good chance to garner All-Pro honors this season and will likely be the top choice among AFC punters.
I measure something I call punting average, which attempts to adjust for field position of where the punt took place, and looks at net punting. Some punters face more short field situations, and hitting a 40-yard punt is a good thing when you are at the opponent’s 45, but not so much when at your own 10. I use 60 as the denominator for all punts further back than their own 40, and the yardage to the end zone for a touchback, minus one yard, for all punts past a punter’s own 40.
Here is the punting average for the top 8 punters in gross punting yards per punt.
Those top four all have insanely good numbers. If you want to translate that to some hard numbers, on a full field punt, a punt percentage of .770 would represent a net punt of 46.2 yards. That includes returns and the risk of touchbacks. King’s numbers are pulled down by two big returns against Oakland–one where he made a horse collar tackle from behind to prevent a touchdown, and another where he had a very nice punt inside the 10 to pin Tyreek Hill in a corner, but Hill avoided the first few tackles, went all the way across the field, then turned it up for a big game. By median punt, he has been the best in the league, and one of the best in “short field” situations (along with perennial All-Pro Andy Lee) as the Broncos learned last night.
Punters are usually anonymous. Marquette King is making for a little bit of fun for an otherwise largely ignored part of the game.