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Super Bowl XLVIII X-Factor: Trindon Holliday

The biggest x-factor in Super Bowl XLVIII could very well be much maligned Trindon Holliday, who has been taken off punt return duties, but has shown excellent burst from his few kickoff opportunities in recent weeks.

Doug Pensinger

By all accounts, Trindon Holliday has had a down year compared to last season. Or has he? Perception can be a strange deal.

In 2012, Holliday was electrifying in the regular season and in the lone playoff game the Denver Broncos participated in. Fans loved him for it, but then in 2013 he became perceived as a fumbler and detrimental to the outcome of games. He was taken off punting duty, but was he more of a fumbler in 2013 as compared to 2012?

-- Punt Returns Kick Returns --
Year Ret Yards Avg TD Ret Yards Avg TD FMB
2012 48 481 10.0 1 21 552 26.3 1 6
2013 32 271 8.5 1 28 775 27.7 1 5

The stats show Trindon has always been a fumbler, in fact, he was worst in 2012. Midway through this season, Holliday was permanently removed from punt return duty, which has limited his ability to make impact plays on Special Teams - both positive and negative.

Yet, he was able put up a few electrifying plays. Being limited to kickoff return duty has severely limited his chances of making impactful plays at Mile High Stadium, but the Super Bowl isn't taking place at altitude. It's taking place at sea level, in a stadium where kickoff returns will be more than possible - they will be likely.

This is why Trindon Holliday is my x-factor on kickoffs.

On Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day, nearly all of the questions directed at Holliday had in some way shape or form to do with securing the ball, handling the ball, catching the ball, fumbling the ball and anything else to do with his ball control issues. And for good reason, it enrages the fans the coaches and his teammates. Even if Wes Welker is the only player to truly cost the Denver Broncos a victory this year with a fumble.

I think I've been trying to make that move before I actually have the ball. It's the catch, that one instant as the ball is hitting your hands. I've been trying to make the move before securing the ball. - Trindon Holliday in Media Day

Something tells me Holliday won't be returning punts at all in the Super Bowl, but he will be returning all of the kickoffs. Something also tells me he's going to break more than one of those for huge game changing plays. Let's just hope Omar Bolden or some other player doesn't do something to negate one of those.

The man with six special teams touchdowns since joining the Denver Broncos in week 6 of the 2012 season is too much of an explosive threat not to have out there returning kicks at some point. If the Broncos struggle offensively, then I would even like to see him out there in punting situations.

The risk/reward is too valuable to ignore on the game's biggest stage. TAKE IT!