What Is A Fair Catch In Football?

What Is A Fair Catch In Football?

On a football field if the ball goes down in the air and the receiver can control the ball, he is in possession of the ball and is called a fair catch. Teams usually use their arm to indicate the fair catch. This action lets the opposing team know that the receiver has possession and there is no penalty on the play if play continues. Some times the receiver will throw the ball to the ground to make the play a fair catch. If the receiver makes this action and the play is over the ball and he is out of bounds, play is stopped. If receiver is making a fair catch and they are able to gain at least five yards, then play continues.

What is a Fair Catch in American Football?

A fair catch is a last ditch effort to prevent the return of a punt or kickoff, or to stop a run play in football.
On a punt, the offense attempts to kick the ball out of bounds or fair catch the ball and stop the clock. This is only legal if the returner catches the ball before going out of bounds, which is a legal play.
On a missed fair catch, the ball should be re-kicked (or the ball may simply be dropped) and the play starts again on a new scrimmage play. On a fair catch, there is no down that is in effect.

Why Have a Fair Catch in Football?

The second reason that the fair catch rule exists is that it prevents the game clock from running out. In the NFL, the clock typically starts ticking at the snap of the ball. If the punt goes out of bounds before the punter has a chance to kick the ball, then the clock can still run out.

The third reason for a fair catch is to let your offense try and score while the defense is on the field. You might be in a situation where the offense has a drive going, but they are unable to score due to a defense that comes on the field. Having a fair catch makes it easier for the offense to score and gives them an opportunity to score before the defense is able to get in the game.

What is the Fair Catch Signal in the National Football League?

The fair catch signal occurs when a receiver throws up a hand above his head while the ball is in the air. The motion of the receiver needs to be precise enough for the referees to signal the fair-catch and blow the whistle alerting the kicking team that the play is dead upon a catch.

What is an Illegal Fair Catch?

In 2011, the NFL clarified that a player does not have to have the ball completely in their possession in order to be considered in possession of the ball for purposes of a fair catch. The NFL also clarified in 2011 that a fair catch is not possible on the last play of a half unless the team is in possession of the ball. A team must be in possession of the ball to be in a fair catch situation.

The rule states that the player is in control of his own body. I.E. the player is responsible for not allowing someone to get to a player using illegal means. The rules state that it is illegal to use unfair methods to bring a player down. The player responsible for the tackle is the player on defense. The player who is not involved in the tackle has no obligation to protect the players involved in the illegal action.

When Was the Fair Catch Rule Implemented in the NFL?

    A Green Bay Packers back in the day made the first fair catch in NFL. The opponent against the Packers was the Evansville Crimson Giants.

Where Do you Start on Offense after a Fair Catch Kick?

The offense gets their first down after a successful fair catch. That means giving up a touchback.

The defense ends their possession on their own eleven-yard line. When the offense does not have a play to the line of scrimmage, the defense must make a special teams play, usually involving fair catch or kick return.

What Happens if you Call a Fair Catch and Drop It?

If the ball was kicked by the punter and the punter catches the ball in the end zone and then drops it, then the ball is considered live and the team with the player holding the ball has possession for their offense. If the punter drops the ball while still carrying it, it is a fumble, the ball is considered dead and possession of the ball is in the hands of the receiving team.

What Happens if a Defensive Player Hits You on a Fair Catch?

If the other team punts, they’re called for a fair. If the receiving team catches the kick, they’re called for a fair catch. If the returning team contacts or attempts to contact a member of the kicking or receiving team after touching the ball, the player who was in contact will be awarded a fifteen-yard penalty.


The fair catch rule limits the defense’s reaction time, which helps reduce the chances that a player can be injured or a fumble can occur. Limiting how much time the defense can run to the ball helps to protect players and allows better judgment on which players to use the fair catch.

Because of the rules of football, if a player catches the ball in the end zone, they get the ball on the twenty-five-yard line. No other player can touch the ball. In the case of a kick/punt or a missed field goal, the ball is returned to the place of the kick (usually the field goal is returned to the 20 yard line or the 20-yard line on a field goal), so the defense can get the ball and play it down the field.

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