Bills-Texans Kickoff Play

bowlingref

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In the Bills-Texans playoff game, the receiver on a kickoff threw the ball to the white hat and never got down on the knee to stop the play. The white hat signaled touchdown. The call was reversed after an alternate official came on the field for a discussion. The way the NFL rule read presented by ESPN, the touchdown should have stood. My question is what is the NFHS rule on this kind of play. Thanks in advance.
 

White hat

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Aug 17, 2001
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It can't happen in high school because as soon as a kick touches the goal line it's over, the ball is dead and the play is a touchback. This is true even if the ball is touched in the field of play, as long as it's not possessed. A kick does not end until a player gains possession. As long as the ball is still a kick, it can touch every player on the field twice and it will be dead and declared a touchback the instant it breaks the plane of the goal line.

Incidentally, there was a play nearly identical to the pro play in a college game a few years ago where the returner tossed the ball to the referee who let it drop because, technically, it was still live. The kicking team recovered for a TD. The powers-that-be in NCAA officiating issued a ruling that when a returner tosses the ball from the endzone, he is conceding that the play is over, therefore it is a touchback.

The NFL office basically made the exact same ruling Saturday and called the alternate official on the headset immediately and overturned the ruling on the field.

There is a adage we use on the field -- "No cheap turnovers, no cheap scores."
 

HighestPoint

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Oct 10, 2016
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It can't happen in high school because as soon as a kick touches the goal line it's over, the ball is dead and the play is a touchback. This is true even if the ball is touched in the field of play, as long as it's not possessed. A kick does not end until a player gains possession. As long as the ball is still a kick, it can touch every player on the field twice and it will be dead and declared a touchback the instant it breaks the plane of the goal line.

Incidentally, there was a play nearly identical to the pro play in a college game a few years ago where the returner tossed the ball to the referee who let it drop because, technically, it was still live. The kicking team recovered for a TD. The powers-that-be in NCAA officiating issued a ruling that when a returner tosses the ball from the endzone, he is conceding that the play is over, therefore it is a touchback.

The NFL office basically made the exact same ruling Saturday and called the alternate official on the headset immediately and overturned the ruling on the field.

There is a adage we use on the field -- "No cheap turnovers, no cheap scores."
If a kick dribbles down say inside the 2 yard line, can a player knock the ball into the endzone for a touchback?
 

White hat

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If a kick dribbles down say inside the 2 yard line, can a player knock the ball into the endzone for a touchback?
Yes, but if it's done intentionally it will be illegal batting and that's a whole other can of worms.

If the ball is knocked into the endzone unintentionally -- say there's a scramble for the ball or the ball is muffed by a player trying to pick it up -- then it's a touchback, that's it and that's all.

If there is a flag for illegal batting by the receiving team at the 2, if it's a punt (Scrimmage kick) then, assuming there are no other flags, this is a post-scrimmage kick foul (PSK). The result of the play is a touchback and the kick ended when the play ended, when the ball touched the plane of the goal line. Under PSK enforcement, the foul is enforced from the spot of the end of the kick (although in this case that's the 20) or, if it's behind the EOK spot, it's enforced from the spot of the foul, which would be the case here. So the enforcement would go from the 2, back to the 1 yard line. first down for the receiving team.

If this is a kickoff (free kick) there is no PSK enforcement, so the foul occurred while the ball is loose and the only enforcement option is to penalize 10 yards from the spot of the kick and re-kick.

There's an old case play we use to trick rookies where a kickoff is loose near R's goal line and an R player, fearing K will recover and keep the ball (a long onside kick), intentionally kicks or bats the ball through and out the back of the endzone. This looks for all the world like a safety, but in fact it cannot be a safety. The foul occured in the field of play and the result of the play is the weirdest looking touchback you've ever seen.