Extra special

In the playoffs, it could be the special teamers who steal the glory

Updated: December 16, 2011, 10:32 AM ET
By David Fleming and Dennis Dillon | ESPN The Magazine
Ted GinnEzra Shaw/Getty ImagesTed Ginn's return skills could prove to be pivotal for the Niners this postseason.

IT'S BEEN FIVE YEARS since Devin Hester burst onto the NFL scene, making every kickoff an event. In that time, the Bears Pro Bowler has set the all-time record with 17 touchdowns on returns, and leaguewide statistical trends show that despite two rule changes meant to curb returns, Hester has helped transform special teams from a chore for scrubs to a platform for stardom. "Kids now see special teams as a glamour position," says Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub.