Monday, January 02, 2006

Little Known Football Rules: The Fair Catch Kick

Vinny's mention of Doug Flutie's drop kick in yesterday's Patriots v. Dolphins game reminds me of my favorite obscure football rule--the fair catch kick. Under NFL and NFSHAA rules (but not under NCAA rules), after a fair catch has been called, a team may put the ball in play in one of two ways. The receiving team may either run a play from scrimmage, or it may take a free kick. This kick may be a drop kick or a place kick without a tee, and if it goes through the uprights, it's 3 points.

With the power in the legs of many of today's kickers, the fair catch kick is a play that NFL teams should think more seriously about, because the fair catch kick rule provides an opportunity to kick an uncontested field goal. There's no limit on how many steps a kicker takes, and there's no rush allowed, so it isn't hard to envision somebody making one of these from 65 yards or longer (it's basically a kickoff without a tee).

You will see high school teams use this play from time to time. The last NFL team to make one of these was the Chicago Bears, when Mac Percival kicked one against the Packers in 1968. However, the Tennessee Titans tried one this season against the Texans (they missed), so don't be surprised if you see more teams giving it a shot in the future.

Of course, then the John Collinses of the world will intervene and outlaw the play, which is why they call it the No Fun League.


Anonymous said...

pretty cool!!!!!!!!

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