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Old 12-26-2000, 03:40 PM
astorian is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: austin tx usa
Posts: 35,294
I've followed football for a long time, and had always THOUGHT there was an absolute (though unwritten rule) against making fair catches inside the 10 yard line. In theory, at least, I thought receivers were taught tosignal for a fair catch, if they must, but to let the ball go, and (hopefully) bounce into the end zone.

After all, if a receiver is standing at his own 7 yard line, and sees that the punt is well covered, and he can't possibly make a decent return, he might as well let it go! If he makes a fair catch, his team is GUARANTEED lousy field position, whereas, if he lets it go, he can hope for a touchback.

In the past month, however, I've seen a host of fair catches made inside the ten yard line! I've seen this in both college AND N.F.L. games! What I'm wondering is...

1) Are all these players just screwing up royally?

2) Have the coaches' attitudes changed, and is making the fair catch at your own 5-10 yard line now considered a GOOD idea?

3) Was I wrong in thinking "let it it go and hope for a touchback" was ever the prevailing philosophy?

I still think that, under most circumstances, it makes little or no sense to make a fair catch inside the ten yard line. What do you think?
Old 12-26-2000, 03:47 PM
Gazoo is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,510
I think it is still very much the "prevailing philosophy" to not fair catch the ball inside the 10 yard line. (As you mentioned, players will often signal fair catch with no intent of catching it at all in hopes the opponent is watching the player instead of the ball and the ball bounces easily into the endzone.)

Maybe coaches are a little more lax on it though, since it seems that there are more balls downed by the defense inside the five than ever before. So maybe they'd rather have the player fair catch it at the nine than have the defense down it at the one.
Old 12-26-2000, 04:51 PM
xizor's Avatar
xizor is offline
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Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 5,409
There is also the chance that letting the ball go might result in the ball bouncing, hitting a receiving team player and resulting in a turnover.
Old 12-30-2000, 02:10 PM
lurkernomore is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Behind the wall
Posts: 3,107
also depends on coverage and where the kick is from. If the line was their 45, you're on the 5 and it's a liner, it's bouncing in fast. If they have any coverage, let it go.

Now, if they're at your 37, you're at the 5, it's high and they have coverage, catch it. It'll probably bounce high, but not far downfield. You don't want it to get downed at your 2. Safeties can wreck the flow of the game. Just ask the Jets. The fair catch there is defending against being pinned in.
Old 12-30-2000, 08:27 PM
Cat Whisperer is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lethbridge, AB.
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(Quoting jflann11 who knows everything about sports):
Fair catches are for wimps. In the CFL, there is no such thing as a fair catch. The receiver on a punt must catch the ball and attempt to make a play. The defence is required to give him five yards to make that catch and then the game is on. The NFL/college rule for fair catches severely detracts from action on kicking plays. Remember: NFL stands for "No Fun League".
Old 12-30-2000, 10:19 PM
capacitor is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 4,095
I hate FC's too, especially those back at the 10 yard line or deeper. It makes the receiving team get lazy with blocking the kicking team. Unfortunately, FCs are a necessary evil, to prevent the possibility of the ball going back to the 1.
Old 12-30-2000, 11:07 PM
Mr. Cynical is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Streamwood, IL
Posts: 4,795
They are also a necessity to keep the returner alive. Ever been hit that hard? It feels bad.
Old 12-31-2000, 09:06 AM
WillGolfForFood is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: USA (Pennsylvania)
Posts: 788
Originally posted by featherlou
In the CFL, there is no such thing as a fair catch.
There won't be one in the XFL, either. Of course, I suspect that half of the people watching XFL games will be watching mostly to see players get killed anyway...
Old 01-01-2001, 01:26 AM
tracer is offline
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Silicon Valley, Cal., USA
Posts: 15,861
But of course. You've seen the commercials for the XFL, right? They show an offensive linemen blocking a semi, and running backs dodging landmines. Well, I want to see real landmines going off on the playing field! With shrapnel! None of these wimpy "strained calf muscle" or "torn hamstring" injuries -- I wanna see blood! By the bucketful! And severed heads rolling down the field! (Which someone on the other team will mistake for the ball, pick it up, and run with it for about 20 yards before he realizes it's a severed head and freaks out.)

Come to think of it -- why are the XFL players bothering with helmets and shoulderpads? They don't wear such sissy gear in Rugby or Australian Rules Football, do they? Pah. "Extreme" my patootie.


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