Ask Ray . . . Football Rules and Scoring Questions

If you have football scoring or rules questions, please direct them to me.  Having been the head statistician for the Tampa Bay Bucs for a number of years back in the 1980’s, and also the head statistician for the 1984 Super Bowl (Redskins-Raiders), I have probably seen just about every iteration of how to score certain plays or how to understand different NFL rules.

So, if you are curious about how to interpret a ruling, or, if you’re just trying to win a bet with your buddy, feel free to reach out to me through this website and we’ll get you the answers you want.

Just hit the reply button at the bottom of this post and give me your questions.  All inquiries will be answered in this forum.

Ray Dunlap

4 thoughts on “Ask Ray . . . Football Rules and Scoring Questions

  1. Do fair catches count as a punt return for stat purposes?

    How do you treat running into kicker (5-yard penalty) and illegal block on return team?

    How do you score Time of Possession (TOP) when punt returner fumbles and offensive team recovers?

    How would you score net yardage for a 41 yard punt with holding on the offensive team during the return?

    Are all defensive penalties on an offensive scoring play assessed on the ensuing kickoff?

    If the punt returner fumbles after a 17-yard gain and the fumble is recovered by the kicking team, is any TOP awarded to the receiving (punt return) team?

    How much net yardage does the punter receive whenever a fair catch interference penalty occurs?

    Can defensive offsides (kicking team) be declined on a kickoff?

    How do you score a play when a player recovers a fumble and runs for a touchdown?

    Would a punter receive zero or -3 net yards on a 40-yard punt with a 43-yard return?

    Is holding on a punt return enforced at the spot of the foul or where the punt was caught?

  2. ok, I’m going to work through all the RP results that, over the years, I was never that sure on how to record them statistically! I’ll start with RP1.

    Result 3: QB mishandles snap, ball pops loose and, after mad scramble, he recovers it for 33 yd loss
    Result 4: Loose fumbled handoff is picked up by o6 (o6 attempts pass etc)
    Result 8: QB slips and falls while attempting handoff, loses 3 yds
    Result 9: Broken play, QB collides with another back and fumbles, d3 recovers 8 yds behind line

    Thanks Ray!

  3. Now RP2.

    Result 3: QB fumbles snap, picks ball up & laterals in desperation to o2, who attempts pass
    Result 6: While faking handoff, QB bumps into another back, he retains possession but loses 4 yds
    Result 9: Ballcarrier fumbles in backfield, ball bounces away, he recovers it while running towards own goal, is tackled for 20 yd loss

    thanks Ray!

  4. now RP 3 & 4. I’m getting the hang of it now, so this should go a bit quicker.

    RP3
    Result 6: Ballcarrier gains 13 yds, then fumbles; ball bounces 12 more yds towards defense’s goal, recovered there by o5.

    RP4
    Result 5: Bad snap goes through QB’s legs, o11 recovers for 3 yd loss
    Result 8: QB fumbles snap, o4 falls on ball for 1 yd gain
    Result 10: Center snaps ball one count early, ball pops into air and is caught by d2 at line, he returns it 1 yd
    Result 11: Ballcarrier fumbles handoff, ball rolls behind him, he falls on it in end zone, safety

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