Special-teams coordinators ponder the possible application of the double punt rule

New England Patriots Doug Flutie
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One thing is clear after last night’s double punt in the Rams-Seahawks game. Plenty of people in and around the league didn’t know that two punts were permitted on the same play.

From a commonsense standpoint, two punts should be as illegal as two forward passes. Even if both passes happen behind the line of scrimmage, they violate the rules. But two punts are permitted, as long as the second punt happens at or behind the line of scrimmage. (As currently written, the rule requires the ball to remain behind the line of scrimmage at all times.)

As one source with knowledge of the dynamics explains it to PFT, the league’s officiating department has fielded plenty of calls from special-teams coordinator who clearly weren’t aware of the rule, who now are, and who are brainstorming the other possible applications of it.

Under the rule, a punt, a drop kick, and/or a placekick can be followed by a second punt, drop kick, and/or placekick.

So, for example, a blocked field goal can be followed by a punt. Or by a drop kick. If the drop kick goes right through the goal posts, it counts for three points. Which last happened when Doug Flutie did it in 2006.

19 responses to “Special-teams coordinators ponder the possible application of the double punt rule

  1. Not sure if a punt is on the same level as a forward pass. I seem to recall an instance where Tarkenton had a pass tipped back to him and then he threw a second pass. (Illegal)…
    Punts, different situation. Let them play, if the punter can pull it off, more power to him.

  2. Fluties kick was for 1 point. Belichick wanted to lose that game & gave flutie the chance to do hus drop kick instead of tieing the game by going to 2.

  3. There is no problem with the rule as it exists – the problem with last night was the failure of the refs to catch that he was over the line of scrimmage – that should carry a significant penalty and then the opposing team gets the ball. Clever way that the punter avoided the loss last night.

  4. Any special teams coordinator who can figure out how to find an advantage by punting twice on the same play with the second punt coming from behind the line of scrimmage deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

  5. You know dang well the Pats and BB are all over exploring how to exploit this rule 😁

  6. A punt only becomes a punt when it crosses the LOS that is when the rule changes regarding the ball. Punted balls that go beyond the LOS cannot be advanced by the punting team, but punted balls that are blocked and remain behind the LOS can be picked up and advanced by the punting team. What’s so hard to understand.

  7. ..least we all agree,i Dickerson made a heck of a atheletic play. I was impressed he chased down the ball and got the 2nd punt off.

  8. Not sure what kind of play would make sense but in theory, you could punt from one side of the field to the other side and then presuming the returner team would be not effectively blocking, just dribbling it down the field … it’d be one way not to really punt if the receiving team had a great punt returner but you also risk them just tackling the second punter … but if you had like 4th and 30 and the other team just dropped back to block and not cover the wide out … you might get away with it … Bellichick is probably practicing that right now.

  9. I am interested in how teams practice having a punt blocked and then retrievong the ball and re-kicking.

  10. Wasn’t the drop kick dropped completely from the rulebook shortly after Flutie scored with it?

  11. The only thing they should worry about is stupid punters trying and getting hurt because a 300 lb linemen hits them legally while they try to recover the ball.

  12. Why does it have to be blocked? Surely you can kick it to yourself, which releases the offensive line down field, and then kick it again once they are down there?

  13. I don’t know how professional football can survive without this being resolved. The sport might be ruined now.

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