Q – Kickoff is caught 4 yards deep in the end-zone and is returned 28 yards to the 24. However, there is a flag on the play. It is a 10-yard penalty on the return.
The rules say to mark it off 15 yards ahead of where it was caught, so that would be the 11 yard line. “Half the distance to the goal” would put it at the 5 yard line.
How many Kick Return yards does the returner get credit for and why?
A – The returner gets credited for return yardage up to the point of the infraction. So, in this case it would be a 15 yard return because the penalty occurred at the 11 yard line. Then, the ball would be put in play at the 5½ yard line (I would use the six yard line in APBA – I always give the marginal benefit to the team with their back to the goal line).
Q – If it’s not a penalty, why does the Ref throw a flag on a kick out of bounds?
It is a penalty . . . . it is just not a “distance” penalty, so no yardage is actually calculated for penalty purposes. But the kicking team is assessed one penalty for no yards.