What happens if the kick-off reciever punts the ball back?

What rules would come into play if the kick-off return guy caught the kick-off and then punted the ball back down the field over the rest of the players (back to about where it came from)?

Where would the ball be spotted and can the punt be advanced?

I can envision a scenario where this would happen if you want details.

All the guys behind him would offsides, until he gets in front of them. Until that time, they can’t make a play on the ball, and must retreat. If it’s in front of his 22, and the ball goes out of bounds on the fly, the opposing team is awarded a line-out from where he kicked it. If he’s behind the 22 meter, they get the ball where it crossed the touch line.

Unless you’re looking for what would happen if the scenario occured during a game of American Football. In that case, I don’t know. :smack:

That would be an illegal kick, garnering a 10-yard penalty from the spot of the foul. It’s also a dead ball in NCAA rules, but remains live in the NFL (I think, I’m having trouble getting the details).

I can’t, so please go ahead.

Perfectly legal in the CFL. It’s basically just like any other punt. The original kicking team can field it and advance the ball. You only ever see it happen at the end of a 1 point game when one team is trying to score a point on a long punt/potentially missed field goal. The defense can field the ball and may choose to kick it out of the end zone instead of running it out if the latter looks unlikely to happen.

NFL: Illegal scrimmage kick in violation of 9.1.1. 10 yard foul from the spot of the kick, but play continues, and best I can tell, only the kickoff team can touch the punt, any touching by the team that punts the ball back is illegal touching and would award the ball to the kickoff team at that point. The NFL rule is somewhat unclear. My interpretation is that the team that kicked off would have the option of recovering the punt and continuing as normal, declining the penalty; accepting the ball at the spot of illegal touching if any, declining the penalty; and giving the ball to the punting team with a 10-yard penalty from the spot of the punt.

NCAA: “Return kick” (2-15-8, 6-3-10-b) causes the ball to become dead. 5 yard penalty from the spot of the kick, and the punting team will keep the ball.

Maybe this is not what the OP had in mind (or maybe it is) but while punting a kickoff is illegal, is it not legal to make a return kick on a punt? If so, maybe the football rules dopers can answer that.

It is my understanding that any kick during play that is not made from behind the line of scrimmage is illegal. Once the line of scrimmage is gone, such as when an interception is made or a punt is recieved, any kick is illegal.

Any kick from in front of the line of scrimmage or when there is no line of scrimmage is illegal in both codes, with the penalties outlined above, not matter if it’s from the offense crossing the line then punting, or the defense returning a kickoff, punt, interception, or fumble.

Does the fact that the OP is asking about a kick-off, rather than a punt, have any effect?

It’s not illegal under CFL rules.

You know, I haven’t any idea.

I too am looking forward to the details of this scenario. I can’t imagine any circumstances where the receiving team would want to kick the ball back to the kicking team. For sure I’ve never seen it happen. Heck, I’ve never seen a punt on any other down besides 4th.

I just wondered, because there are some differences between the two - a kick-off can’t go out of bounds, but a punt can, for example. Seems the rules are a bit more restrictive for a kick-off.

Way back when, teams would punt the ball away in bad weather to try to catch the other team in a mistake. Rather than fumble on your own 20, make the other guys fumble on their own 20. I’ve heard stories of a Texas-TCU game in the 50s or so that had something like 13 punts on 1st down in a row. (probably exaggerated).

I did find this:

Nov. 11, 1939: Texas Tech and Centenary (La.) play in a torrential downpour in Shreveport, La., resulting in an NCAA-record 77 punts (39 by Tech, 38 by the Gentlemen) and a scoreless tie. There are also 42 punts returned (another NCAA game mark), four blocked kicks, 67 punts on first down, and 22 consecutive first-down kicks by both teams during a skein in the third and fourth periods. Texas Tech runs a total of 12 offensive plays (10 rushes, two passes) for a net of negative one yard.

I saw John Elway punt on third down one time. It was 3rd and 20ish, Elway was in the shotgun and did a pooch kick for twenty-thirty yards and Denver managed to down it inside the 10, I think.

IIRC, I believe I saw Randall Cunningham (Eagles) punt the pigskin on 3rd and long from inside their own 5 yard line, against the Cowboys, for 80 ? yards.

The team would be in the market for a new kick returner.

Cunningham, in the late 80s, was the last player I can remember doing it. They used to call that the “quick kick”. He did more than once, for sure … I seem to remember him breaking out the quick kick a few times during his career. But there aren’t a lot of occasions in modern pro football where a team’s not better off just going for it on third down.

I wonder if early-80s Cowboys’ QB Danny White ever quick-kicked on third down, being that he served as both the starting QB and punter.

A bit of Googling has revealed:

  • Cunningham attemped 20 punts in his career, many of which (but not all) were 3rd-down quick kicks.

  • The Steelers attemped at least one 3rd-down quick kick in 2005. There are a few Steelers fans on this board … perhaps one will turn up to confirm.