Football Fair Catch

Chapter 7.2

What is a fair catch? It is a choice that a returner has and can signal during a return. Get ready to learn the rules of fair catches and what they mean in football.


We've already learned about the returner, a player in the special teams unit responsible for catching the ball from a kick and running it on the field toward the opposing team's end zone.

Fair Catches

A fair catch is a signal that the returner can make just before catching the ball. To signal a fair catch, the returner will hold up his arm into the air.

By making this signal, the returner says he wants to catch the ball without being touched by players on the opposing team. On a fair catch, the return ends once the returner catches the ball.

Players on the kicking team are not allowed to interfere with the returners attempt at catching the ball. A penalty called fair catch interference is given to a player that touches the player.

PRO TIP: On a fair catch, the returner is not required to catch the ball, however if he decides not too and then touches it, it's treated as a fumble.

Spot Of The ball

After the return ends from a fair catch the team starts with the ball at the spot of the catch.

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