Have you ever played an APBA Football game and thought to yourself, “I really don’t want to punt the ball to the opposing team?” I know that I have.

In fact, I recently played a game involving the 2016 Lions and 2016 Vikings. Believe it or not, both teams have punt returners that have Play Result Numbers that could result in a punt return for a touchdown. As my game progressed, each time one of the two teams went back to punt, I wondered if “this” would be the time when a player would return it all-the-way. Finally, it happened. The Vikings’ Marcus SHERELS returned the punt 84 yards for a touchdown, and that score put Minnesota ahead in the game at the time. Later, with only 30 seconds remaining in the game and with the Lions now leading, Detroit needed to punt the ball back to Minnesota. Obviously, that’s just two plays at the most. So, wouldn’t this be a great time to implement some kind of new rule that could have the Lions still be able to punt the ball to Minnesota, but could keep it away from SHERELS? Since a rule covering this didn’t exist, I created a situation whereby a team could punt the ball out-of-bounds, but with a reduced distance. By the way, this is similar to the Squib Kick innovation created by Mark Zarb. It’s really simple, and here’s how it works:

The punting team announces that it will be attempting to punt the ball out-of-bounds. You roll the dice, obtain the result, and then subtract 15 yards from the total. (Note: This is similar to the Maximum Rush Rule whereby 5 yards are subtracted by the punting team.)

Now, you can leave the rule that there if you want to do so. Subtract 15 yards and you are done, OR….you can take it a step further. If you have used any of my innovations from before, then you know that I like to add a little drama to each outcome. So, after subtracting the 15 yards, we need to make some adjustments to the punt yardage. After all, it’s too easy to just calculate 15 yards less than the amount. What if the guy kicked it further, or what if he punted it even less than that? Well, this part of the option adds (or subtracts) some more yardage. Roll the two dice and add the two together. If the red die is odd, then the sum of the two dice is added as yardage to the already altered punt yardage. For example, the original punt yardage was 40 yards, and the reduced punt yardage lowered the punt to just 25 yards, and because the red die is odd, the total of those two dice is added to the 25. Let’s say it was a total of 7, so the final yardage of the punt would be 32 yards. That’s not too bad to keep the ball away from someone like SHERELS.

And, the flip side does the reverse. If the red die was an even number, then the sum of those two dice are subtracted from the total. This balances things out. Using our example from before, the 40 yard punt is reduced to 25 yards, and then further reduced because of the total of the dice of 7 being subtracted from the punt. That means that the punt only traveled 18 yards. But, again, you managed to keep it away from SHERELS, so he couldn’t return it for a touchdown.

If you think about it, it really does make sense. After all, you are trying to give yourself the best chance to win-the-game.

The innovation is quick, simple, and it makes sense.

By the way, the Detroit Lions punt returner is Andre ROBERTS and he, and SHERELS each have two Play Result Numbers on their cards that would be touchdowns, if rolled.

Doug,

The only thing I would encourage you to add to this innovation is the possibility that, even though the punter attempted to kick it out of bounds, there would still be a possibility that he did not. You would still want to have the reduction in yards for ATTEMPTING to punt it away from a dangerous return man, but no strategy should be “absolute.” If 20% or 25% of the time these punts did not make it out of bounds, it could add even more to the “drama” that you mentioned!

Just my “two-cents” . . . . .

Ray

Ray,

Thanks for your input. I do understand what you are saying, and no option should be 100 percent accurate.

I actually did consider that there could be some occurrences where the ball didn’t make it out of bounds, but I decided that it made this “simple” option more complicated than it needed to be.

If the ball were to be kicked in-bounds and short, then it isn’t a definite thing that the deep receiver (TA-TB) would be the player who actually fielded that type of punt. The receiver would likely be an up-man who never actually fielded a punt in real life.

Additionally, since this option isn’t really used very often, as I said, I just wanted keep it simple. If you have an alternative idea, that would be great.

This will greatly effect their stats in a negative way.

Dave,

I get what you are saying, but I think that you are a little off-base with regard as to when the option should be used. I don’t recommend that you employ this option all of the time. Certainly, if you did use it all of the time, then it would rob the great kick returner of his stats. Also, as you pointed out, it could really hurt the punter’s stats.

But, if (as I described) it’s late in the game with just a few seconds left and you know that the other team has a great returner, and the only thing that can beat you is a TD, you can be certain that real coaches would instruct their punter to aim for the sidelines. I know that I certainly would. Not only does it eat up 15 seconds of time, but it negates anything harm that the returner could have done. It could just preserve your game for you.

The best thing about options like this is they are OPTIONS. If you don’t like it, that’s okay with me. I certainly could have used it the other day in the game that I played.

Doug