View Full Version : NFL Question - The Gunner
12-15-2010, 05:51 PM
I guess by now some of you have see the video of the coach intentionally tripping an opposing play as the player ran down the sidelines. Today there is an article (http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Sal-Alosi-s-devious-act-was-not-a-coincidence?urn=nfl-296526) saying the this coach intentionally setup this wall of players to interfere with "The Gunner". Now, the coaches box is about a yard back from the actual sideline, and the video shows "The Gunner" running in from out of bounds where he was in a position to get trippped. Why was "The Gunner" out of bounds in the first place? Are "The Gunners" often out of bounds and in a position to get blocked or tripped by a wall of players back away from the sidelines? Why have I never, in all my 40+ years of life never heard of "The Gunner"?
12-15-2010, 05:53 PM
They're often covered by 2 players from the opposing team, who usually manhandle them out of bounds so they can't make a play on the punt returner. (Every other player on the punt team usually waits until the punt is away to head downfield.)
I think I've heard that term for a couple years now, but I never played organized football at any level.
12-15-2010, 05:57 PM
The Gunner is a pretty common term, at least in the last 15 years or so. Punt teams will put two really, really fast guys on the outside ends of the punt formation, near the sidelines. Their job is to run down the field as fast as they possibly can ("gunning" it, I reckon) in order to stop the punt returner.
Punt return teams, in response, will have one (or sometimes two) players lined up on each gunner, jamming them at the line of scrimmage and as they release downfield, in order to prevent them from getting to the punt returner. Since the gunners are often starting out near the sideline, and make their runs downfield along the sideline, and are usually getting bumped and jostled by the defenders, they often end up out of bounds as they head downfield.
Interestingly, I believe it's actually an unsportsmanlike penalty if a player goes out of bounds during a play and "delays" returning to the field. I don't know how much leeway the player gets, but obviously if they're getting forced out by the opposition, they won't get called for this.
12-15-2010, 06:29 PM
The key thing about the gunner is that they are the only two players on the kicking team who are allowed past the line of scrimmage before the ball is kicked. They can cross the line at the snap, everyone else has to wait for the kick.
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