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(Redirected to Kickoff (American football) article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 2007 Penn State Nittany Lions football team kicks the ball off after scoring a touchdown in their season opening game

A kickoff is a method of starting a drive in American football or Canadian football.

Contents

Award

A kickoff occurs at the start of each half and before each overtime (in the National and Arena Football Leagues). It is also traditionally decided by a coin toss at the beginning of each game carried out by the referee. The visiting team captain calls either heads or tails. If he is right, he gets to choose whether to kickoff or receive the ball in the first half (in which case the home team captain chooses whether to kickoff or receive the ball in the second half) or to defer choosing whether to kickoff or receive until the second half (in which case the home team captain chooses whether to kickoff or receive the ball in the first half). If an overtime is required, another coin toss takes place to decide who gets first possession during the overtime. After a touchdown or field goal, the scoring team kicks the ball off to the opposing team. There is a special "free kick" after a safety.

Procedure

Dallas Cowboys kick-off during an NFL game

The ball is to be placed between the kicking team's goal line and their own 30-yard line (35-yard line in the CFL, 45-yard line in amateur Canadian football, 40-yard line in American high school football). All players except for the kicker on the kicking team must not cross the line at which the ball is placed until the ball is kicked. The receiving team must stay behind the line that is 10 yards from where the ball is placed. The ball can be fielded by the receiving team at any point after it has been kicked, or by the kicking team after it has traveled 10 yards and hit the ground, or has been touched by a member of the receiving team. If it is fielded by the kicking team, it is called an onside kick. A low, bouncing kick is called a squib kick. Although a squib kick typically gives the receiving team better field position than they would if a normal kick had been used, a squib kick is sometimes used to avoid giving up a long return, as well as to give the kicking team the best chance of recovering the ball, typically when behind near the end of the game.

Penalties

If a receiving player crosses his restraining line before the kick, the ball is to be advanced 5 yards, then re-kicked. If a kicking team player crosses the line at which the ball is placed before it is kicked, the receiving team has the option either to have the kicking team re-kick from 5 yards farther back, or have 5 yards added on to the end of the return. In high school football, the receiving team only has the option to make the kicking team re-kick.

If the ball goes out of bounds without being touched by a player, the receiving team can choose either to have the ball moved back 5 yards and re-kicked, to take the ball 30 yards (25 yards under National Federation high school rules) past the spot of the kick (usually at their own 40-yard line), or to take the ball where it went out of bounds. However, on an onside kick, if the ball does not travel ten yards before the kicking team recovers the ball, they will take a 5-yard penalty and has the chance to kick another onside kick. If the onside kick goes less than 10 yards again, the receiving team will receive the ball at the spot the kicking team recovered it. However, if the receiving team touches the ball before it goes 10 yards, either team can recover it unpenalized.

Kickoff into end zone

Kickoffs entering the end zone are handled differently in American and Canadian rules. In the American game, if the ball goes out of bounds in the receiving team's endzone or is recovered and downed in the receiving team's end zone, the ball is to be placed at the receiving team's 20-yard line and possession is given to the receiving team (this is known as a touchback). In the Canadian game if the ball goes into the end zone and then out of bounds without being touched, the receiving team scrimmages from the 25-yard line (no points are scored). If the receiving team gains possession of a kickoff in its own end zone and then fails to return it back into the field of play, the kicking teams scores one point, and the receiving team scrimmages from the 35-yard line. If the kicking team recovers its own kickoff in the end zone, it scores a touchdown.

Return

To receive a kickoff and set up a kickoff return, the receiving team sets up their players starting from 10 yards back from the point the ball is kicked from. There are usually one or two players positioned deep (around the goal line) that will attempt to catch or pick up the ball after it is kicked off by the opposing team's kicker. They will then attempt to carry the ball as far as possible upfield, without being tackled or running out of bounds. The other players are to block the kickoff team from getting to their kickoff returner.

See also

Sources

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In American and Canadian football a kickoff return is the act of returning a kickoff from the opposing team.

Contents

Kickoff

A kickoff occurs at the start of each half and before each overtime (in the National, Canadian, and Arena Football Leagues). After a touchdown or field goal, there is also a kickoff with the team being scored against receiving. There is a special "free kick" after a safety.

Return

To receive a kickoff and set up a kickoff return, the receiving team sets up their eleven players starting from 10 yards back from the point the ball is kicked from. There are usually one or two players positioned deep (around the goal line) that will attempt to catch or pick up the ball after it is kicked off by the opposing team's kicker. They will then attempt to carry the ball as far as possible upfield, without being tackled or running out of bounds. The other players are to block the kickoff team from getting to their kickoff returner.

See also

Sources


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