What Is a Fair Catch In Football? Simple Explanation

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What Is a Fair Catch In Football?

In football, a fair catch is a play in which the player catches the ball without being touched by the opposing team. This can be useful when the catch would otherwise be difficult or unsafe. It also allows the receiving team to keep possession of the ball rather than having it go to the other team after an incomplete pass or turnover.

What’s The Point of a Fair Catch?

The fair catch rule in football is designed to protect players from being injured by incoming kicks. If a player catches the ball cleanly, he can signal, and the play will be whistled dead. Before this rule was instituted, players were often blindsided by tacklers with a running start. This led to many serious injuries, including concussions and broken bones. 

What Happens If You Get Hit?

If a defensive player hits you while you’re making a fair catch, it’s considered interference, and the opposing team will be penalized. The penalty is 15 yards from the spot of the catch, or half the distance to the goal line if that would result in a longer distance.

What Is The Signal?

The player signals by extending one arm above their head and waving it back and forth. If they catch the ball, they are awarded it at the spot of the catch. 

Where Do You Start After Calling a Fair Catch On Offense?

The offensive team has two options: start from their 20-yard line or start from the spot of the catch. If the offensive team decides to start from their 20-yard line, they will have to give up 10 yards of field position. However, if the offensive team decides to start from the spot of the kick, they will keep all of their field position.

The decision of where to start on offense after a kick should be made based on the game situation. If the offensive team is close to scoring and needs every yard they can get, starting from the spot of the fair catch kick may be the best option.