A kickoff in football can supply big hits, elusive running, and lots of excitement. Kickoffs are transition plays where control of the ball typically changes hands.
What is a kickoff in football?
A kickoff is when a team kicks the ball to their opponent to start a new drive. All football games are started with a kickoff.
- Every half is started with a kickoff. Every scoring drive transfers to a kickoff.
- There are several different ways to approach a kickoff. These include kicking a touchback, squib kick, and onside kicks.
- If the kickoff goes out of bounds, the return team will take over at the 35-yard-line or spot the ball went out.
When are there kickoffs?
Kickoffs begin each half and after all scoring plays. If a team makes a field goal, then that team will kick off on the next play. On the other hand, if a team misses a field goal, the defending team will take over where the other team was without a kickoff. If a team scores a touchdown, they will then attempt either a point after try (PAT) or two-point conversion, upon which they will kickoff.
What are the goals for the kicking team on a kickoff?
- The first goal is for the kicker to hit his target. A kicker can have many different targets, but the most common targets are usually either out of the end zone or near the one-yard line.
- Next, the kicking team coverage needs to tackle the kick returner. If the kicker kicks the ball out of the end zone or the kick returner takes a knee, then the play is over, and there is no need to pursue the kick returner. Otherwise, the kicking team must pursue downfield and try to prevent a significant return for the receiving team.
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What is the goal for the receiving team on a kickoff?
The receiving team’s goal is to return the ball as close to the end zone as possible. The ultimate success on a kick return would be to return the kickoff for a touchdown, but that does not happen very often.
How do teams line up for kickoffs?
Kicking Team– Aside from the kicker, the kicking team will send ten other players to chase down the kick returner. It starts with two gunners lined up near each sideline. There are four players on each side between the gunner and kicker, the container, the alleys, and two wedges. All these players line up five yards from where the ball is kicked and cannot cross the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked. Once the ball is kicked, the ten non-kickers charge down and try to tackle the returner. The kicker stays further back and acts as a safety.
Receiving Team– The receiving team lines up with two returners near the end zone standing on the hash marks. In front of the returners are four blockers and five bigger blockers to disrupt the other team from getting to the returner.
What are your options on a kickoff?
Kick a Touchback– The most common form of the kickoff is kicking the ball in or through the end zone. If kicked in, the returner can still bring it out like a normal return or take a knee for a touchback. If kicked through, the returner has no chance to return it, and it will be a touchback. This is the safest way for teams to prevent a touchdown. This allows their opponent to start their drive from their own 25-yard-line (NFL) and 20-yard-line (college and most other football leagues).
Force a Return– Another popular option is to force the return team to return the ball. The kicker usually aims for the ball to reach the receiver inside the five-yard line for these plays. These are generally executed to give your team a chance to pin the other team inside their own 20-yard-line.
Squib Kick– Not a very common form of kickoff, but still used. Squib kicks are line-drive kicks along the ground to force less-traditional returners to field the ball. These are often done if the kicker has a weak leg or if there is little time on the clock.
Onside Kick– This form of the kickoff is typically saved for desperate situations. Onside kicks are kicks driven into the ground that travel a very short distance. They are performed at an angle facing the sideline to give the kicking team the best opportunity to recover the ball. Onside kicks are performed in desperate situations when a team is down late in the game.
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