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RACKERS BOTCHES FAIR CATCH KICK

There’s an obscure football rule that allows a team to attempt a free kick after a fair catch, and quick-thinking Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt invoked that rule at the end of the first half today against the Giants.
It started with the Giants getting the ball at their own 9-yard line with 24 seconds left in the second quarter. Giants quarterback Eli Manning took a knee and the Giants prepared to head to the locker room, but the Cardinals used their first timeout, forcing the Giants to keep running offensive plays. When the Giants then ran the ball up the middle twice and the Cardinals used two more timeouts, the Giants were forced to punt from their own 9-yard line.
Cardinals return man Steve Breaston fair caught the punt at the Arizona 42-yard line with five seconds left, and then Whisenhunt sent kicker Neil Rackers out.
Unfortunately, Rackers badly missed his 68-yard attempt with one of the ugliest shanks you’ll ever see. Giants return man Reuben Droughns picked the ball up at the 2-yard line and ran it 29 yards before he was tackled, ending the first half.
A week after Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb revealed a stunning degree of ignorance in admitting that he didn’t know NFL games could end in a tie, it would be interesting to know how many NFL players were aware of the fair catch kick rule.
In any event, it was cool just to witness an attempt at a fair catch kick, which hasn’t been done successfully since 1968, when Bears kicker Mac Percival used a fair-catch kick to hit the game-winning field goal against the Packers.
All the Giants-Cardinals action can be followed here.

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29 Responses to “RACKERS BOTCHES FAIR CATCH KICK”
  1. pepe says: Nov 23, 2008 5:53 PM

    What are the chances McNabb knew this rule?

  2. mrf47 says: Nov 23, 2008 5:58 PM

    I’m with McNabb on this one; I didn’t know that rule.

  3. Randall Cunningham says: Nov 23, 2008 5:59 PM

    Very cool – didn’t know this rule existed.

  4. FlyingElvis says: Nov 23, 2008 6:06 PM

    Now I know how McNabb feels…

  5. titans_fan says: Nov 23, 2008 6:08 PM

    Titans tried this like 2-3 years ago. I believe it was against Houston. Anyways they obviously didn’t make it.

  6. a Cheerleader says: Nov 23, 2008 6:28 PM

    I didn’t know this rule existed, dang.

  7. Pea Tear Griffin says: Nov 23, 2008 6:30 PM

    That’s a funny little rule. Kind of like the Flutie-esque drop kick.

  8. me says: Nov 23, 2008 6:30 PM

    ‘ITS AN OBSCURE RULE’… tranlation…Fabio didnt know it
    I love that its an obscure rule even though its been attempted since the last tie, which is a rule EVERYONE should know!!

  9. reo says: Nov 23, 2008 6:34 PM

    Fisher did that a few years back.

  10. How You Tore Your Dress says: Nov 23, 2008 6:38 PM

    From the Wikipedia article:
    The last successful kick was by Tom Brady of the New England Patriots against the New York Giants. Brady kicked a record 304 yard field goal, winning Super Bowl XLIII.
    ROFL

  11. Green Cheese says: Nov 23, 2008 6:40 PM

    Nice Wikipedia article…
    “The last successful kick was by Tom Brady of the New England Patriots against the New York Giants. Brady kicked a record 304 yard field goal, winning Super Bowl XLIII”

  12. ACDC84 says: Nov 23, 2008 6:42 PM

    When I was a kid I heard that you are allowed to do a drop-kick FG. It’s basically out of a punt formation, then the punter catches the snap, bounces the ball off the field then kicks it off the bounce. Anyone else ever heard of this, or was someone trying to make me look stupid?

  13. ACDC84 says: Nov 23, 2008 6:45 PM

    I guess I was right. Boy I’d love to see some footage of one of these!
    Last time it happened in NFL? FLUTIE!! : http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1550377/posts

  14. Lumas101 says: Nov 23, 2008 6:54 PM

    Al Michaels used to reference this rule all the time when it appeared a team would have to punt from deep in their own end at the end of a half. I was always hoping to see it happen, but each time the defending team either couldn’t force the punt, or did not attempt to make use of the rule.
    Recently I have not heard Michaels, or anyone else, reference the rule and I was beginning to think it may no longer exist. It was nice to see someone give it a try today, but too bad that Rackers completely shanked it.

  15. zod says: Nov 23, 2008 7:19 PM

    “which hasn’t been done successfully since 1968, when Bears kicker Mac Percival used a fair-catch kick to hit the game-winning field goal against the Packers.”
    I saw that game and it still pisses me off. So yes, I know that rule.
    This just in: The Bears still SUCK!

  16. zod says: Nov 23, 2008 7:24 PM

    When I was a kid I heard that you are allowed to do a drop-kick FG. It’s basically out of a punt formation, then the punter catches the snap, bounces the ball off the field then kicks it off the bounce. Anyone else ever heard of this, or was someone trying to make me look stupid?
    We used to fool around with it when we were kids. If you caught it right, it would go along way.
    That’s made Flutie’s kick so cool and that it was more obscure than a free kick..

  17. MezLB45 says: Nov 23, 2008 8:23 PM

    We utilized this rule with the high school team I coach. We did it right before halftime and made the free kick…an also little known part of it, you do not need to hold the ball, you can put it on a tee.

  18. bigblue59 says: Nov 23, 2008 8:30 PM

    Once again the cards tried every trick in the book and I guess they read the book
    But none of it mattered
    Cards are good but not good enough

  19. shukey11 says: Nov 23, 2008 9:11 PM

    so can i do that in madden?

  20. robertamberg says: Nov 23, 2008 9:43 PM

    Did Rackers/Whisenhunt not know the tee could be used?

  21. robertamberg says: Nov 23, 2008 9:58 PM

    Didn’t Rackers/Whisenhunt know they could use a tee?

  22. Aequitas says: Nov 23, 2008 11:44 PM

    Michaels lives this rule – he talks about it every time the situation arises (punt from deep in own end at the end of a half). If you’ve watched any MNF/SNF football over the last decade or so, you’ve probably heard Michaels mention it at least 10-15 times.

  23. Kurt M. Weber says: Nov 23, 2008 11:56 PM

    No; I’ve been in situations before in Madden where a fair-catch kick would have been my best option, and I was pissed off to discover Madden doesn’t let you do it.
    So yeah, I’ve known about it for quite a while.

  24. Chris from MD says: Nov 24, 2008 7:01 AM

    I saw it done in a college game several years ago, so I knew about it, I also knew that you could use a tee to do it.
    I guess Rackers/Whisenhut didn’t know you could use a tee.

  25. samh says: Nov 24, 2008 7:15 AM

    robertamberg,
    I don’t think you can use a tee in the NFL (you can in high school).

  26. aj says: Nov 24, 2008 7:34 AM

    Rackers used a tee.
    I also recall Jeff Fisher attempting this in Houston a few years back unsuccesfully

  27. Chris from MD says: Nov 24, 2008 8:24 AM

    Rackers didn’t use a tee, the ball was held by a teammate.
    And evidently, you are NOT allowed to use a T.
    http://www.nflteamhistory.com/nfl_rules/fair_catch_kick.html

  28. TarheelGrad1998 says: Nov 24, 2008 1:50 PM

    Maybe I’m an idiot, or maybe the description is poor. But this doesn’t sound like the fair catch rule, if there were 5 seconds on the clock. It’s just an ordinary desparation field goal attempt.
    The fair catch rule just allows you to attempt a kick with no time left on the clock.

  29. robertamberg says: Nov 24, 2008 3:14 PM

    Thanks, samh. I did a little further research and according to the Bible of the Internet (NOT!) Wikipedia, you are right. A tee is not permitted in the NFL.

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