In football, a kickoff is when one team kicks the ball to its opponent, who returns it until tackled, out of bounds, or scores a touchdown. Kickoffs occur after each score, at the end of each half, and before overtime.
Determining Who kicks Off
A coin toss determines who will receive the ball in the first half and who will receive the ball in the second half before a kickoff occurs.
To start each half, each team will receive a kickoff and will kick the ball to start the second half.
How does a kickoff Look?
During a kickoff, the kicking team will line up at its thirty-five-yard line. The kicker will be in the middle of the formation with five players on either side.
Five players will be on the scrimmage while the kicker will be a few steps back so he can get a running start. On this play, the kicker will kick off a plastic tee to make it easier to hit the ball farther.
One or two kickoff returners will be positioned inside the receiving team’s end zone to catch the ball.
There will be several blockers in front of the kick returners, as well as another set of blockers ten yards back from the line of scrimmage to block any players from the kicking team.
As soon as the ball is kicked, the kicking team’s players will run down the field. The first set of blockers will engage the players and slow them down.
When the kick returner catches the kick, he will advance the ball up the field with the help of his blockers. Wherever the ball carrier is tackled or travels out of bounds, the receiving team will begin their drive.
If a touchback occurs, the kick returner should carry the ball beyond the twenty-five-yard line. The starting line is where a team will start with a ball.
In the majority of kickoff plays, the touchback rule is significant.
Football touchbacks occur when a player is downed behind the goal line, a kick travels through the back of the end zone. In addition, a kick returner gives themselves up in the end zone.
The team will start with the ball at the 25-yard line if they receive a touchback on a kickoff.
Taking a touchback means you won’t have a chance at a big return, but you’ll start from 25 yards out.
During kickoffs, kick returners will look at the players coming downfield and determine whether they believe they can get past the 25-yard line.
Kick returners will take the ball out of the end zone if they believe they will be tackled short of the 25-yard line. If they believe they will be tackled inside the end zone, they will take a knee.
The Onside kick
An onside kick is a football play in which the team kicking the ball attempts to recover its own kick.
Onside kicks must travel ten yards past the line of scrimmage before being recovered by a team.
The kicking team will retain possession of the ball if they are able to recover it.
They will start about forty yards closer to the end zone if they fail to recover a touchback.
As a result, onside kicks are usually attempted only when a team is desperate to score points.
You can learn more about free kicks and kick returns in our articles on kickoffs in football.