BRANT BOYER returns for his seventh season as the special teams coordinator of the New York Jets after initially joining the team in 2016. Under three different head coaches in his time with the Jets, Boyer has transformed the special teams in one of the best in the league, finishing in the top five in DVOA according to FootballOutsiders.com in three of the last four seasons, one of only three teams – Baltimore and Kansas City – to do so.
Change has been a constant for Boyer, as the Jets have had 10 different kickers, four different punters, and have seen a different team leader in kickoff return average and special teams tackles in every one of his previous six seasons.
Despite the changes, his unit has committed just 95 penalties, the 13th fewest of any team in the league, while posting top 10 rankings in total touchdowns (six – scoring via punt return, kickoff return and via fumble recovery), blocked punts (four), forced fumbles (five), kickoff return average (23.3), opponent kickoff return average (21.4) and fewest touchbacks on punts (22).
Last season (2021), Boyer's special teams finished second in the league in DVOA, highlighted by the wide receiver/return specialist Braxton Berrios' first-team All Pro selection. Berrios, who led the NFL in kickoff return average, also ranked second in punt return average (among players with 15 PRs) and was only the 10th player since 1970 with top three finishes in both KOR and PR and the first since another Boyer charge, Andre Roberts in 2018. As a result, the Jets were the only team in 2021 to finish in the top five in both kickoff and punt return average.
Justin Hardee, one of 15 NFL players since 2017 with 40+ special teams tackles, registered a single-season best in his first season under Boyer after posting 12 special teams to led the team. In addition, punter Braden Mann (returning from an injury suffered Week One) and kicker Eddy Piñeiro both finished 2021 strong as Mann posted a 43.0 net punting average, fifth best in the league, over the last four games and Piñeiro, signed in Week 14 connected on all eight FG attempts as a Jet. In Mann's absence, veteran punter Thomas Morstead averaged 43.0 net yards per punt, a top five single-season average in his 12-year NFL career.
In 2020, punter Braden Mann establish a rookie franchise record in punting average (43.9) under Boyer, while setting another team rookie record with a 60-yard punt. Kicker Sam Ficken, the only returning kicker Boyer has had in his five seasons, was connected on all 12 of his attempts under 50 yards one of three kickers with no misses on at least 10 attempts last season.
In 2019, Boyer's group finished fourth in the league in special teams DVOA, their second consecutive season in the top five, despite new primary players at kicker, punt returner and kick returner. Overall, the group ranked in the top five in coverage touchdowns (two), punt return average (11.4), kickoff return average against (19.3) and fumble recoveries (two).
After they averaged a league-low 6.8 yards per punt return from 2013-17, the Jets had first and second place finishes in 2018 and 2019 respectively, as Boyer narrowly missed becoming the first coach since the merger to have two different returners lead the league in punt returns in consecutive seasons.
In 2018, in addition to their number one ranking from both FootballOutsiders.com and Rick Gosselin, Boyer's group finished in the top five league-wide in kickoff return average (third; 26.9), punt return average (first; 13.0) and field goal percentage (fourth; 91.7%). The unit also blocked three kicks — a punt, a field goal and an extra point — one of just three teams with at least three blocked kicks and one of just two with a block of all three.
Among the many superlatives by the Jets special teams unit in 2018 were kicker Jason Myers earning a Pro Bowl selection after tying Nick Folk's field goal percentage franchise record, connecting on 33-of-36 field goals (91.7%) and finishing with the second-most made field goals and tying for the second most points for a single season in franchise history. Additionally, Myers made all five of his attempts of 55+ yards last season, the most in a single year in NFL history, and now accounts for five of the 11 makes from 55+ yards in Jets history. Myers also became one of just eight players in league history with a seven-field-goal game after connecting on all seven attempts for 24 total points (second-most kicking points in a game in league history) vs. Indianapolis (10/14).
Roberts, a wide receiver/return specialist, was named a first-team All Pro and selected to his first Pro Bowl in nine NFL seasons, led the league in punt return average (14.1) and finished second in kickoff return average (29.4) last season, one of just 12 qualifying players to finish in the top three in both in the same season since 1970. Additionally, Roberts registered 10 returns (three punt, seven kickoff) of 40+ yards last season, two of which accounted for touchdowns — a 78-yard punt return at Detroit (09/10/18) and a 99-yard kickoff return vs. Green Bay (12/23/18). For Roberts, the 10 returns of 40+ make him one of just five players to accomplish the feat since 2000.
In 2017, Boyer oversaw second-year punter Lachlan Edwards establish franchise records with 46.6 gross and 40.5 net punt averages, ranked third in the league with 33 punts inside the 20-yard line, the second most in Jets history. Additionally, kicker Chandler Catanzaro, a 2017 acquisition, improved on his field goal percentage from 75% in 2016 to 83.3%, as well as connecting on 100% of his extra point attempts, the first time he had done so since his rookie season. Catanzaro also connected on a 57-yard field goal, the longest in team history.
Among Boyer's coverage units, the Jets allowed just 20.0 yards per kickoff return in 2017, the eighth lowest average in the league. Safety Rontez Miles led the NFL with 15 solo special teams tackles (according to radar360).
In his first season (2016), kicker Nick Folk connected on 87.1% of his field goal attempts, tied for the sixth best in the league that season and the fourth highest mark in team history.
Boyer joined the Jets after a four-year tenure in Indianapolis (2012-15), where he aided a Colts special teams unit that ranked in the top 10 league-wide during that span in net punting average (third), kickoff return average (fourth), kickoff touchbacks (fourth) and field goal percentage (seventh), despite using three different players as primary punt returners and four different kick returners in his four seasons.
During the 2015 season, the Indianapolis special teams unit established an NFL record with just 156 kickoff return yards allowed for the season, besting the previous mark of 254 set by Denver in 1992.
In 2014, both punter Pat McAfee and kicker Adam Vinatieri received Associated Press First-Team NFL All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors under Boyer as McAfee converted a career-high three onside kicks and set single-season franchise records for punts pinned inside the 20-yard line (30), net punting average (42.8) and
kickoff touchbacks (70), while Vinatieri made 30 of 31 field goals and also converted 35 consecutive attempts, the fourth-longest streak in NFL history.
In 2013, Boyer coached Matt Overton to his first career Pro Bowl selection, one year after discovering the long snapper at a specialists combine in Arizona and bringing him to Indianapolis for a workout prior to his signing in April 2012.
Prior to joining the Colts, Boyer was twice a training camp intern, first for the Cleveland Browns (2009) and later for the New York Giants (2010).
Before entering the coaching ranks, Boyer played linebacker and was a standout on special teams for the Miami Dolphins (1994), Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-2000) and Cleveland Browns (2001-03). He served as a special teams captain for both the Jaguars and Browns and led Cleveland in tackles in 2002 and 2003. Boyer was a two-time member of USA Today's All-Joe Team, once as a linebacker and once as a special teams player. In 2002, his teammates selected him for the Cleveland Browns Unsung Hero Award.
Boyer played in 129 career games and totaled 250 tackles, 13.0 sacks, six interceptions, one forced fumble and 15 passes defensed. He originally entered the league as a sixth-round selection of the Miami Dolphins in the 1994 NFL Draft.
Before entering the NFL, Boyer was an inside linebacker and team captain at the University of Arizona as part of the school's "Desert Swarm" defense. He led the team in tackles during his senior season, helping the Wildcats to their first 10-win season in 90 years and a victory in the 1993 Fiesta Bowl, and earned a place in the school's Ring of Honor.
New York Jets | 2016-Present
Special Teams Coordinator - 2016-Present
Indianapolis Colts | 2012-15
Assistant Special Teams - 2012-15
New York Giants | 2010
Training Camp Intern - 2010
Cleveland Browns | 2009
Training Camp Intern - 2009
Cleveland Browns (Linebacker) - 2001-03
Jacksonville Jaguars (Linebacker) - 1995-2000
Miami Dolphins (Linebacker) - 1994
Arizona (Linebacker) - 1992-93