It’s called a banana kick, and it’s adapted from Australian rules football, where it can be useful for bending the ball when shooting from a bad angle—a situation that doesn’t come up much in NFL punting. But that spin does impart a predictable bounce, which matters very much.

Here’s an AFL instructional video showing how the banana kick is done, and this is pretty close to what the ball looked like coming off of Hekker’s foot. Note the ends of the ball pointing sideways upon contact, and the spin it imparts:


Hekker is already one of a growing number of so-called Aussie-style punters, who on normal kicks drop the ball vertically, with the nose facing the ground, rather than straight out. While decreasing potential distance, this method imparts more control and leads to more backward bounces, perfect for pinning opponents in their own end. Add to that rapidly changing standard this even newer wrinkle, and it’s kind of heartening that there are still borrowings and innovations to shake up American football, even in 2017.