That Other Free Kick

I bet some of you out there didn’t know this arcane NFL rule.

After a punt or kickoff is caught by a fair catch, the receiving team is entitled to a free kick (also known as a fair catch kick), which is not the same as a free kick that takes place after a safety is scored. The defensive team, like as is the case during a kickoff, has to retreat 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.

There is no snap, and the ball must be held at the line of scrimmage by a holder. If the kick goes through the uprights of the goal posts, it counts as a field goal and scores three points. The last known such successful kick in the NFL took place on November 21, 1976 when Ray Wersching kicked one for San Diego over Buffalo.

The YouTube clip is from an NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots from November 18, 1984. Charlie Jones and Bob Griese were calling the action for NBC that day as the Patriots rolled to a 50-17 win.

Just thought I’d mention it. You never know when this rule may show up.

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