a. When it is obvious that a scrimmage kick will be made, no opponent shall run into or rough the kicker or the holder of a place kick.
Approved Ruling 9-1-16 I. A1 catches a long snap and plans to punt from behind his line of scrimmage but misses the ball, which falls to the ground. A1 is then contacted by B1. RULING: Team A fumble. No foul by B1. There is no kicker until the ball is kicked.
Approved Ruling 9-1-16 III. A1, from a non-scrimmage kick formation, makes a quick, unexpected kick so suddenly that B1 cannot avoid contact. RULING: This is not roughing or running into the kicker since the rule applies only when it is obvious that a kick will be made.
Approved Ruling 9-1-16 VI. Team A is in a scrimmage kick formation. Punter A1 moves laterally two or three steps to recover a faulty snap, or recovers a snap that went over his head, and then kicks the ball. B2 contacts A1 in an unsuccessful attempt to block the kick. RULING: A1 does not automatically lose his protection in either case unless he carries the ball outside the tackle box. While in the tackle box A1 is entitled to protection as in any other kicking situation. When it becomes obvious that A1 intends to kick in a normal punting position, defensive players must avoid him after he kicks the ball.
1. Roughing is a live-ball personal foul that endangers the kicker or holder.
2. Running into the kicker or holder is a live-ball foul that occurs when the kicker or holder is displaced from their kicking or holding position but is not roughed.
Approved Ruling 9-1-16 II. A1 kicks the ball, after which B1, unable to stop his attempt to block the kick, makes contact with the kicker or holder. RULING: This action could be either “Roughing” or “Running into” the kicker or holder. When in question, the ruling is to be “roughing,” which carries a penalty of 15 yards and an automatic first down.
3. Incidental contact with a kicker or holder is not a foul.
4. The kicker’s protection under this rule ends (a) when the kicker has had a reasonable time to regain their balance; or (b) when the kicker carries or possesses the ball outside the tackle box (Rule 2-34) before kicking.
Approved Ruling 9-1-16 IV. B1 runs into player A1, who has kicked the ball and has had a reasonable time to regain his balance. RULING: Not a foul by B1 unless ruled as running into or throwing himself against an opponent obviously out of the play (Rule 9-1-12).
5. When a defensive player’s contact against the kicker or holder is caused by an opponent’s block (legal or illegal), there is no foul for running into or roughing.
6. A player who makes contact with the kicker or holder after touching the kick is not charged with running into or roughing the kicker.
7. When a player other than one who blocks a scrimmage kick runs into or roughs the kicker or holder, it is a foul.
8. When in question whether the foul is running into or roughing, the foul is roughing.
PENALTY—Roughing or any other personal foul against the kicker who is in the act or just after kicking the ball or roughing the holder: 15 yards from the previous spot, plus automatic first down if not in conflict with other rules [S38 and S30]. Running into the kicker or holder: 5 yards from the previous spot [S30].
b. A kicker or holder simulating being roughed or run into by a defensive player commits an unsportsmanlike act.
Approved Ruling 9-1-16 V. After B1 runs into the kicker, kicker A25 simulates being roughed. RULING: Offsetting fouls.
PENALTY—15 yards from the previous spot or, if the scrimmage kick crosses the neutral zone, can be enforced where the subsequent dead ball belongs to Team B [S27].
c. The kicker of a free kick may not be blocked until they have advanced five yards beyond their restraining line, or until the ball has touched a player, an official or the ground.
Approved Ruling 9-1-16 VII. Punter A22 is 15 yards behind the neutral zone when he catches the long snap, sprints to his right at an angle toward the line of scrimmage, and runs outside the tackle box. He then stops and punts the ball, and (a) is immediately hit by a diving B89; or (b) is immediately hit by B89, and B89 is guilty of targeting. RULING: (a) Legal play, no foul by B89. A22 loses his roughing or running-into protection by carrying the ball outside the tackle box. (b) Even though the kicker is outside the tackle box, targeting is a personal foul and the penalty will be enforced at the previous spot.