If you are like me and conduct replays over a wide array of eras, rules associated with the kicking game can get confusing. My goal is to eliminate any confusion regarding rules or ball placement associated with kickoffs, missed field goal (FG) attempts, blocked FG attempts and two-point conversions.
Pre-1974: The ball was placed at the kicking team’s 40-yard line.
1974-1994: The ball was placed at the kicking team’s 35-yard line.
1994-2010: The ball was placed at the kicking team’s 30-yard line.
Post -2011: The ball is placed at the kicking team’s 35-yard line.
FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS
Pre-1974: Add only 7 yards to all FG attempts because the goal post was offset from the goal line.
Post – 1974: Add 17 yards to all FG attempts because the goal post was moved to the end line.
MISSED FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS
Regardless of era, all missed FG attempts from the 20-yard line or closer results in the opposing team taking possession at the 20-yard line.
Pre-1974: Missed FG attempts resulted in opposing team gaining possession at the 20-yard line if the kick was not or could not be returned.
1974-1994: The opposing team would take possession at the line of scrimmage, unless the kick was attempted from inside the 20-yard line.
Post-1994: Missed FG attempts from beyond the 20-yard line result in the opposing team taking possession at the spot of the kick. (This is 7-yards behind the line of scrimmage).
BLOCKED FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS
If blocked FG is on or behind the neutral zone, it is treated like a fumble and can be advanced by either team. Beyond the neutral zone, a blocked kick is treated like a punt and can be advanced only by the defense, unless a defensive player fumbles the ball, after which an offensive player can advance it.
American Football League (AFL): Adopted two-point option in 1960 and was used for the duration of the league.
National Football League (NFL): Adopted two-point option in 1994 and is still a viable option in today’s game.
Touchbacks are placed at the receiving team’s 25-yard line (versus the 20-yard line) starting in the 2016 NFL season.