Once the ball has gone 10 yards after being kicked during a kickoff, the ball is indeed live! During a punt, however, someone on the receiving team must touch the football for it to be live. The ball is always live during a kick. The only thing in question is who can recover, and when. On free kicks (including kickoffs and free kicks following a safety), the receiving team can recover the ball at any time, and the kicking team can recover either after it has traveled 10 yards or after the receiving team touches it after any distance. On scrimmage kicks (field goals and punts), the kicking team gives up possession of the ball unless (1) the ball fails to cross the line of scrimmage, (2) the kicking team then recovers the ball, and (3) the down played was not 4th down. In any other situation, the receiving team takes the ball. Once the ball crosses the line of scrimmage, the only way the kicking team can retake possession is if the receiving team fumbles, muffs, or touches the ball and the kicking team recovers.
The receiving team has to line up at least 10 yards away from the kickoff spot, but as soon as the ball is kicked, they can move in to receive the ball. Remember, the rule requiring the ball to travel 10 yards applies only to the kicking team. The receiving team can touch and recover the ball after it has traveled any distance, even if it only goes a yard from the tee.
There is no such thing as an onside punt because if you punt it, the other team has to touch the ball before you can recover it. There is such thing as an onside kick on a kickoff when the ball can go ten yards then any team can recover it. Or on an onside kickoff if it hits the receiving team, anyone can recover it
According to the NFL Rulebook: " A kickoff is illegal unless it travels 10 yards OR is touched by the receiving team. Once the ball is touched by the receiving team or has gone 10 yards, it is a free ball. Receivers may recover and advance. Kicking team may recover but NOT advance UNLESS receiver had possession and lost the ball. " According to the NFL Rules, the kicking team may not advance the ball on a kickoff unless it has been possessed first by the receiving team. In the play you saw in the Washington/Seattle playoff game, the ball went unpossessed by the receiving team when the kicking team gained control. In that case, possession is awarded to the kicking team at the spot where the kicking team gained control of the ball. no. the ball is dead where the kicking team touched it
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