Penalties during the try cannot be enforced following the kickoff — at least not currently

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NFL (Credits: Football Zebras)

On Friday, we highlighted a possible issue with the new kickoff rule that could lead to defenses targeting kickers during PAT attempts without facing significant consequences.

Since penalties during the try only affects the spot of the kick and not the positioning of other players, there’s little downside to attempting a full-out block on an extra point.

After publishing the story and discussing it on Friday’s PFT Live, we heard some speculation that teams could choose to enforce a penalty on the try after the kickoff. For instance, if roughing of the kicker occurred during the try, the kicking team could then kick the ball out of the end zone and push the offense back from the 30-yard line to the 15-yard line before the next drive began.

However, according to the NFL, this option isn’t available. A league spokesperson confirmed via email that there’s no choice to enforce penalties after the kickoff.

This could potentially change in the future. The summary of the new rule mentions that the special teams working group will collaborate with the Officiating department to address any necessary rulings or additional language to support the rule.

NFL (Credits: NFL)

This process will involve input from all clubs and be finalized by the May meeting.

One possible solution is to give the kicking team the ability to enforce roughing the kicker on the try after the kick. But there’s a complication: if the receiving team returns the kick for a touchdown, would the offense then start their drive from the defense’s 15-yard line? This scenario raises some unusual situations.

This situation underscores the importance of thoroughly considering rule changes before implementing them. Rushing the new kickoff rule without fully addressing potential issues may lead to unforeseen complications.

As for finding a solution to the problem of defenses having little incentive to not block every PAT, there’s no clear answer at the moment. If you have any ideas, feel free to share them.


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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