When Is An Onside Kick No Longer Recoverable By The Kicking Team In Football?

football onside kick

With an onside kick, the goal is for the kicking team to recover the football and gain another possession. There are however rules put in place that make it more difficult to pull an onside kick off.

10 Yard Rule

As a general rule, the ball must travel 10+ yards prior to the kicking team being able to recover the ball on a kickoff. This rule prevents the kicking team from merely tapping the ball a yard and ultimately picking the ball up without giving a fair chance to the receiving team.

Out of Bounds

football out of bounds

Any kick that goes out of bounds is flagged for illegal procedure. The receiving team automatically receives the ball at either the spot the ball went out or their own forty yard line.


Football Onside Kick

Onside kicks are designed to be recovered by the kicking team in bounds and travel the minimum distance on the field.

If the receiving team touches the ball prior to the ball traveling 10 yards, then an exception occurs. If this happens, the kicking team can recover the ball once a member of the receiving team touches the ball.

The play can also be redone if there was a penalty that was committed before the play by the receiving team. A penalty would include: too many men on the field, offsides, or illegal formation.

Other Rules

On top of the previously mentioned times an onside kick is unable to be recovered, kicks are made more difficult to recover due to some new rules that were recently introduced. Kicking teams may not: have a running start to recover the ball, have more or less than five players on each side of the kicker, and block the receiving team within 15 yards of the kick.