In the game of football, the play that starts off every single game is the kickoff. There are also many punt plays during the game in which one team will kick the ball to the other after a failed offensive possession. However, there are rules about the way the kickoff needs to be executed and where the direction of the kick needs to go, and if these rules are not met, the kicking team will be assessed a penalty.
This penalty can be called during any kicking plays throughout a game, but is mainly called and focused on during kickoff plays. Once the ball is kicked, a player cannot run out of bounds and come back in bounds if he was not forced out of bounds via a block or push by a player on the receiving team. Until the ball is caught or touched by the receiving team of the kick, nobody on the kicking team is allowed to run out of bounds on the play. If the ball is touched by the player who ran out of bounds on the kick, he will be assessed an illegal touching penalty. Although this penalty is of pretty rare occurrence, as most teams are very disciplined by the rules of how to cover a kick, it is a very important penalty because it can change the field position for the receiving team and give them a better chance to score a touchdown on the following drive.
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When this penalty gets called on a player from the kicking team on all levels, the kicking team will be assessed a 5 yard penalty after the result of the play. This penalty can be declined, but would usually never be declined due to the fact that it would give the receiving team better field position after the play. This penalty usually will be called on kickoff plays where members of the kicking team will run down the field to stop the receiving team from advancing the ball up the field. If a player on the kicking team goes out of bounds on the field without being forced out of bounds by a member of the receiving team, the officials on the field will rule that due to the fact that a player on the kicking team stepped out of bounds and had an impact on the play, a penalty must be assessed to the kicking team.
When this penalty is called, the referee will meet with his crew to make sure that all the officials agree on the call and that the player that touched the ball on the kicking team went out of bounds without any contact. The referee will then move his arms in an upward direction towards his shoulders and lightly tap on the top of his shoulders signaling that the penalty has been called on the kicking team of the penalized play.