Football Illegal Kick Kicking Loose Ball Penalty
An illegal kick/kicking loose ball penalty is similar to an illegal bat foul in football in that both prohibit players from propelling a loose ball downfield in order to gain yardage. Keep reading to find out all about illegal kicking in football, including what players may kick the ball and when.
The illegal kicking rule states that no player shall kick either a loose ball or a ball that is in another player's possession. This penalty is almost identical to the illegal bat rule, which deals with a member of a team illegally batting a loose ball that they are ineligible to touch. In American football, the ball may only be advanced down the field by passing or running with the ball. If the ball becomes loose in a fumble, it must be recovered before a player makes an active attempt to move it downfield.
Illegal kicks of a loose ball happen most often during fumbles, and they are fairly rare. The kicking of a loose ball has to be deliberate in nature, or the penalty may not be called. For example, when players are fighting to recover a loose ball, a player may accidentally kick the ball upfield while trying to play it. In this situation, a penalty will not be called for an illegal kick because it was not intentional.
Like the illegal bat penalty, illegal kick rules exist to preserve a fundamental part of the gameplay of American football. The ball may only be advanced by throwing or carrying, and kicking is reserved for kickers and punters during kickoff and punt plays. The illegal kick penalty keeps these basic principles intact.
An illegal kick of a loose ball will cost your team 10 yards in the NFL and in college play. If the foul is committed by the offense, it will also result in a loss of down, unless it is a kicking play.
|Illegal Kick/Kicking Loose Ball||10 yards||10 yards||10 yards||N/A|
The penalty signal for an illegal kick of a loose ball is the same as an illegal bat: a referee will tap both of their shoulders with their fingertips.
- A player intentionally kicks a loose ball in the field of play
- A player intentionally kicks a ball while it is in a player’s possession
What is an illegal kick on a loose ball in football?
An illegal kick on a loose ball in football is a foul that occurs when a fumbled ball is kicked. The only time the ball may be kicked during a football game is during a kickoff or punt, and then only by the kicker or punter, respectively. If during a non-kicking play, the ball becomes loose as the result of a fumble, no player may attempt to kick or bat the ball in order to advance it down the field.
What are the consequences of an illegal kick on a loose ball in football?
The consequences of an illegal kick on a loose ball in football are a 10-yard penalty and, if the offender is on offense, a loss of down. Committing illegal kicking can erase some of the gains achieved through a dynamic loose ball play. Although it is not the most costly penalty, the loss of field position is significant enough to discourage most players from committing this foul.
Can you challenge an illegal kick on a loose ball in football?
An illegal kick on a loose ball cannot be challenged in NFL football, as it counts as a foul, which cannot be challenged per the NFL rules. As with other penalties in the NFL, it is permissible to challenge the enforcement of the penalty, such as where the ball is placed, but the penalty itself cannot be challenged.