Football is a complex game. It has many complicated rules, regulations and strategic situations that teams and players can take advantage of. How many do you know?
Here’s our pick of 10 interesting facts that you may not know about football. Let’s dive into the list!
Fair Catch Kick
A fair catch kick is an unfamiliar rule that is often called in any football game. The rule states that when a team fair catches a punt, they are eligible for a “fair catch kick”. This is when a team gets a chance to kick an uncontested field goal for a chance at 3 points.
Watch the video below for further explanation.
Pop Warner Was Actually a Person and He Changed The Way Football Is Played
Pop Warner, who most will relate to the youth football league, was a major innovator in the game of football. Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner went on to create many notable additions in the game such as:
- Single and Double Wing Formations
- 3 Point Stance
- Spiral Pass and Spiral Punt
- Trap Play
- Bootleg Play
- Naked Reverse
- Screen Pass
Picking Up a Touched Punt By The Kicking Team
This rule is very interesting and it’s rarely taken advantage of. If a member of the punting team touches the football (in the air or when it is rolling), the receiving team may pick up the football and try to pick up as many yards as possible with no consequences.
If the player fumbles the ball, the team will not lose possession. This is because the player already technically “downed” by the kicking team (when the touched the player in the air or when it was rolling). Therefore the receiving team has the option to take the ball back from where it was originally touched.
Here is a great explanation from coachfore.org
“Rule 6-2-5 states that: If any K player touches a scrimmage kick first (and before the ball has come to rest), R (receiving team) may take the ball at the spot of first touching, or any spot if there is more than one spot of first touching, or they may choose to have the ball put in play as determined by the action which follows first touching. The right of the R to take the ball at the spot of first touching by K is cancelled if R touches the kick and thereafter during the down commits a foul or if the penalty has been accepted for any foul committed during the down.
So, the scenario might be that the punted ball lands on the ground, takes a hard bounce off of a kicking team coverage man, and then your punt returner picks it up before it has come to a rest. That returner can run the football back. It is NOT dead upon first touching. The ball is still live. Since it says that the receiving team can “put the ball in play as determined by the action which follows first touching,” this means you can choose to take the results of the return your returner got OR take the ball at the spot of first touching.
Notice that the choice is cancelled if there is a penalty on the return. This is a GREAT rule to know and to teach your kids because there is NO harm, NO risk for you to pick up the ball and run! If your returner fumbles the ball on his run back, you can STILL maintain possession by choosing to take the “first touching.”
To further clarify this rule, the officials’ “Case Book” states:
6.2.5 Situation A: K1 attempts to down a punt beyond the neutral zone, but his touching only slows it down. The bouncing ball is subsequently recovered by R1, who advances 25 yards but then fumbles and K2 recovers. RULING: R may either take the results of the play or retain possession by taking the ball at the spot of K1’s first touching. “
Dick Lebeau Invented the Zone Blitz
We see it as a routine on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. A linebacker or a defensive back will show blitz and a lineman will drop back into zone coverage. This is known a “zone blitz”. This blitz was made famous by Dick Lebeau (former Pittsburgh Steeler defensive coordinator, currently of the Tennessee Titans).
Fair Catch a Kickoff
Teams all across the world are getting creative with their kickoffs. One kickoff in particular that is gaining popularity is the “Sky” kickoff. This is where a team will kick the ball in the air and try to recover it before it hits the ground.
One way to defend against this, is to call for a fair catch. This neutralizes the sky kick and will give your team good field position as well.
Establishing One Foot Out of Bounds On a Kickoff
This play is often utilized by smart returners who have a good grasp of the field. When a ball is kicked off, if it is rolling to the sideline a player can put one foot out of bounds and the other in bounds. This positioning signifies that the player is “out of bounds” and it will result in a “kick out of bounds” penalty.
See More here:
Blocking a Punt: Behind the Line of Scrimmage vs Beyond the Line of Scrimmage
Often times when a punt is blocked, it will have enough carry to go past the line of scrimmage or it will go behind the punter and carry backwards. The rules of advancement change depending on where the ball is.
In front of the line of scrimmage: If the ball is blocked and it travels past the line of scrimmage, it is treated line a normal punt (same goes for if the ball is tipped)
Behind the Line of Scrimmage: If the ball is blocked behind the line of scrimmage, both teams may advance the block kick to their advantage.
A11 Offense – Modern Day Offensive Innovation
There is an offense out there that will make you take a second look. It’s called the A11 offense. What is so special about it? It features 11 skill players on the field and no lineman.
How is this possible? It is all based on the quarterbacks alignment. There is a rule that states that when the quarterback is 7 or more yards behind the line of scrimmage, he is in a punting formation. Because he is considered a punter, it is assumed that they are in a punting formation, which means that any number can play Center, Guard or Tackle. Coaches have taken this to the next level and using this as their full-time formation. You can read more about the A-11 Offense here:
Clock Stops (until Chains are set) After a First Down In College and High School – Not In The NFL
In the NFL, College and High school, the clock stops when a player goes out of bounds, a pass is incomplete, change of possession, after a score, and when an injury occurs.
However! The clock also stops after a first down for a brief second in high school and college games. The clock stops temporarily while the chains are set. The referee then blows the whistle to wind the clock. This is important because teams can get a first down, get in a formation and spike the ball to stop the clock without wasting much time.
Two States Play By College Rules
Massachusetts and Texas are the only two states in the country that play by NCAA rules. The rest of the country plays by local rules or by NFHS rules.