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Kicking Game. (20% of the game 80% of the headache). General Applications to Free Kicks & Scrimmage Kicks 1. FIRST TOUCHING ONLY APPLIES TO THE KICKING TEAM. 2. Fair catch protection is given to a player who gives a valid fair catch signal

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Kicking Game

(20% of the game 80% of the headache)

General Applications to Free Kicks & Scrimmage Kicks


2. Fair catch protection is given to a player who gives a valid fair catch signal

  • Receiving team players must have an unhindered opportunity to catch the ball
  • Blocking below the waist is prohibited at all times (with the exception of free blocking zone) but special emphasis needs to be placed on these blocks when a kick occurs
  • Forced touching by either team is disregarded

A kick becomes dead when it breaks the plane of the receiver’s goal line.

  • A field goal is a scrimmage kick and is treated the same as a punt.
  • A down may begin with a free kick following any valid fair catch or awarded
  • fair catch.
  • The ball may be put in play at the receivers option anywhere between thehash marks after a valid fair catch or awarded fair catch.

Free Kicks

  • Kickoffs must be a place kick or drop kick made from a point between the
  • hash marks of the kicking teams free kick line, which is the 40 unless moved by a penalty.
  • Kickoffs after a safety may be a punt, drop kick or place kick from the 20 unless moved by a penalty.
  • 3. The kicker and holder (if needed) may break the plane of the free kick line.
  • The clock starts when the ball is touched by the receivers.

5. The kicking team may not touch the ball until:

a. It touches a member of the receiving team

b. It touches the ground and has broken the plane of the receiving

  • teams free kick line

First touching can only occur by the kicking team and only in the 10

  • yard neutral zone.
  • The receivers will have the option of taking first touching if the kicking
  • team touches the ball before it has gone beyond the receiver’s free kick line. (10 yards)
  • Receivers may not block the kicker until he has advanced 5 yards beyond his free kick line, or until the kick has touched the ground or a player.
  • 9. A free kick out of bounds between the goal lines after receivers have touched it will be put in play at the out of bounds spot.
  • A free kick out of bounds between the goal lines untouched by the receivers (regardless if k has touched it or not) is a foul.

11. Accepted penalties for fouls which occur during a free kick are penalized from the previous spot. (Except when fair/kick catch interference occurs and the receivers elect to penalize from the spot of the foul)

  • Once anyone possesses the ball the kick has ended and if possessed by
  • the receivers becomes a running play, if possessed by the kickers the ball becomes dead at the spot of possession. (The kicking team can only recover the ball, they cannot advance it)
  • A fair catch may be made by the receiving team in or beyond the neutral zone. (which is the 10 yards between teams)
  • The kicking team cannot catch the ball while it is still in flight.
  • The kicking team cannot block a player of the receiving team until they are
  • eligible to recover the ball or the ball has gone 10 yards. (If a player on the receiving team blocks first, then this rule does not apply)

Scrimmage Kicks

  • A legal scrimmage kick is a kick made in or behind the neutral zone during a
  • scrimmage down, it may be a punt, drop kick or place kick.
  • When the offense is in scrimmage kick formation, the defense may not
  • charge directly into the snapper. This protection exists until the snapper is able protect himself, blocks, or otherwise moves to participate in the play.
  • If the kicker is beyond the neutral zone when he kicks it, it is an illegal kick.
  • (15 yards from the spot of the kick)
  • Receivers may always advance any scrimmage kick in the field of play

unless a valid or invalid fair catch signal is given.


A scrimmage kick out of bounds between the goal lines belongs to the receiving team regardless of the down, who touched it last, or whether or not it crossed the neutral zone. On a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd down kick a kicked ball recovered by K in bounds and behind the neutral zone belongs to K

  • If the ball is possessed behind the neutral zone (no matter how it got their)
  • either team may catch or recover the ball and advance
  • If the ball is beyond the neutral zone and the receivers are the first to touch the kick (i.e. muff) the kickers may recover the ball but not advance it
  • If the kicking team is the first to touch the ball beyond the neutral zone it is a violation (not a penalty) for first touching (BEAN BAG as first touching only applies to the kicking team)

The receiving team will always have the option of taking the ball where first

  • touching occurred by the kicking team, provided the receiving team did not foul during the down, there are offsetting fouls, or there is an accepted penalty for a foul by either team
  • A fair catch can only be made beyond the neutral zone

11. First touching can only occur beyond the neutral zone

  • 1st through 3rd down numbering exception applies only to the snapper’s position. 4th down numbering exception applies to all interior lineman.

13. Post scrimmage kick fouls (PSK)

a. Foul must have occurred while the ball is in kick status and beyond the neutral zone

b. Foul must be by the receivers

c. Receivers must have possession of the football when the down is over

d. Penalty enforcement as follows:

1. At the end of the kick as marked by the bean bag or out of bounds spot

2. From the 20 yard line if kick ends in a touchback

unless 3. The spot of the foul is inside the 20 yard line if the kick ends in a touch back


Point After Touchdown (PAT)

  • 1. The scoring team may choose to snap the ball anywhere between the hash
  • marks

2. The numbering exception is in effect

3. Once the ball is legally kicked the play is over

4. Only Team A can score on a PAT (try)

  • 5. PSK penalties are not applicable

6. Make sure you know who your eligible receivers are

7. Protect the snapper

8. Be prepared for fakes or busted plays


When In Doubt

  • It is roughing rather than running into the kicker/holder
  • A ball is accidentally touched with the foot rather than intentionally kicked

3. A fair catch signal is valid rather than invalid

4. The player has not touched rather than touched the ball

5. The ball has been muffed rather than caught