A quick kick in football is when the ball is punted by the team on offense from an unexpected formation or in an unexpected scenario. A quick kick usually occurs when an offense lines up as if they are about to run a typical play, but the quarterback takes the snap and punts it down the field. A few seconds before the snap, the quarterback will back up a few yards to have more room for the kick.
While the quick kick was much more common in the early days of football, it is still used occasionally in the modern game. For example, NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham was famous for his quick kicks in the 1980s and 90s. However, the modern strategy of football emphasizes possessing the ball slightly more than its position on the field, so quick kicks have largely fallen out of favor.
Use of a Quick Kick
A quick kick is used to gain field position, often when a team does not think they can keep possession due to loss of down. Teams may also try a quick kick when they are in an unfavorable field position and they are confident that their defense won't give up any points.
Pros and Cons of a Quick Kick
Quick kicks catch the defense off guard so that the defense won't be able to set up for a return. Because the defensive backs are focused on defending a play and not returning a punt, this lets the ball roll farther down the field and gives the punting team better overall field position.
Quick kicks are relatively simple to get right, but that doesn't mean they can't go horribly wrong. Because the offense is not in a punting formation during a quick kick, the punt could potentially be blocked by the defense if they see it coming.
A quick kick also runs the risk of letting a quarterback punt the ball, which can be disastrous, especially if there is a punter on the roster who could potentially do much better. A poor quick kick defeats the purpose of attempting one in the first place.