Author Topic: Signaling for a Fair Catch?  (Read 834 times)

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Offline sczeebra

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Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« on: May 01, 2023, 07:07:37 AM »
What do y'all call on this one. R signals for a fair catch behind the NZ on a punt where the ball never or is blown back behind the NZ and R subsequently catches the ball? I know it's not a fair catch and he shouldn't get protection. Would we blow it dead after possession? That seems odd if there is no protection. If we do blow it dead because of the signal, what about contact after he catches it, a penalty? Is this a valid signal? I know it's one I'll probably never see on the field but anything is possible in the testing arena.

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2023, 07:40:31 AM »
A "Fair Catch" signal is a "Bargain" designed to protect a receiver under very specific circumstances, when he forfeits his right to advance the ball, in return for being allowed an unmolested opportunity to try and catch it. Violating the strict terms of that bargain, is a safety/protection violation.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2023, 07:43:29 AM by AlUpstateNY »

Offline bossman72

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2023, 08:45:12 AM »
Kill it and don't give him protection.  It's not a flag for invalid signal because the signal is indeed valid.
No way we can keep the ball alive after someone signals Fair Catch, since the kicking team will stop playing when they see the signal.

Offline Ralph Damren

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2023, 10:25:59 AM »
Once upon a time there was a coach that had a player whose sole attribute was the ability to punt the ball straight up in the air. He came to me with this play:

(1) Said gifted player would punt the ball straight up in the air.
(2) His blocking back would yell :"FAIR CATCH, FAIR CATCH" and give the proper signal.
(3) The back would catch the ball behind the LOS and would begin his journey.....
    (a)" Let me give the ball to Mr. back judge for spotting" as he strolled BEYOND the LOS.
    (b)  In lieu of giving ball to BJ, he would become MR. TOUCHDOWN!

COACH : "We know the kicking team can't make a fair catch, but this would be sorta' like a fake punt  8] "

RULING: Unfair act (9-9-1), Ball would become dead once the back caught the ball with no attempt at forward progress. COP at spot of foul & USC on K's coach. While there isn't a penalty on K giving a fair catch signal, thiere is a foul for convincing the opponents that the ball has became dead, simular to Case 9.9.1 pretending that the snap isn't imminent.

It was suggested that the' kicker' could go skeet shooting with a football and the blocking back joining the drama club. tR:oLl



Offline sczeebra

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2023, 02:43:46 PM »
Yeah my understanding is he gets no protection prior to the catch and none after. If he gets knocked off the ball prior to the catch that's fair game for K.

Offline dammitbobby

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2023, 08:04:59 PM »
Probably a minority opinion but I'm actually not a fan of how this rule is structured (I believe it's the same for NCAA as well as NHFS.) I get that while K can advance a ball that does not cross the LOS, IMO a valid FC signal should buy him at least the same protection as an invalid FC signal, where he is granted the opportunity to catch the ball, simply from a safety perspective - he's made it clear that he's given up the right to advance the ball, and as written this is a prime opportunity for R to crater him, while heís in a vulnerable position, with no consequences.  If he doesnít give a signal, fire away, level him, whatever, because he didnít indicate he was trading advancing the ball for protection.  In almost all cases, I would wager that if K is signaling for FC, they are not expecting to get popped in the mouth unexpectedly.

If K drops the ball, great, itís a live ball, R can pick it up and advance, and theyíll always have that spot as illegal/first touching spot.  If itís caught, R gets the ball in a what is likely very advantageous field position, because the ball is immediately dead.

And OP - this is more likely to occur than you think! I had a play this past season where K punted, and the combination of a stiff wind and a poor kick caused the ball to land -1 yards behind the LOS.  The ball bounced, and K recovered in on the fly, then tossed the ball forward to his sideline, because he thought it was a dead ball, and the R whistled it dead when he possessed it.  So we had a weird confluence of a IFP, with IW.  After a quick huddle (and a peek at the scoreboard, K was already down by 30 or so, late in 3rd quarter with no hope of even remotely getting close), we just gave the ball to R at the spot of the recovery.  He just as easily could have given a FC signal and tried to catch it. IN the end, no one blinked an eye at how we handled it due to time/score (if anyone even knew, which was doubtful) and as Ralph would say, the band played on...
« Last Edit: May 01, 2023, 08:21:55 PM by dammitbobby »

Offline bossman72

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2023, 09:45:11 PM »
Probably a minority opinion but I'm actually not a fan of how this rule is structured (I believe it's the same for NCAA as well as NHFS.) I get that while K can advance a ball that does not cross the LOS, IMO a valid FC signal should buy him at least the same protection as an invalid FC signal, where he is granted the opportunity to catch the ball, simply from a safety perspective - he's made it clear that he's given up the right to advance the ball, and as written this is a prime opportunity for R to crater him, while heís in a vulnerable position, with no consequences.  If he doesnít give a signal, fire away, level him, whatever, because he didnít indicate he was trading advancing the ball for protection.  In almost all cases, I would wager that if K is signaling for FC, they are not expecting to get popped in the mouth unexpectedly.

If K drops the ball, great, itís a live ball, R can pick it up and advance, and theyíll always have that spot as illegal/first touching spot.  If itís caught, R gets the ball in a what is likely very advantageous field position, because the ball is immediately dead.

And OP - this is more likely to occur than you think! I had a play this past season where K punted, and the combination of a stiff wind and a poor kick caused the ball to land -1 yards behind the LOS.  The ball bounced, and K recovered in on the fly, then tossed the ball forward to his sideline, because he thought it was a dead ball, and the R whistled it dead when he possessed it.  So we had a weird confluence of a IFP, with IW.  After a quick huddle (and a peek at the scoreboard, K was already down by 30 or so, late in 3rd quarter with no hope of even remotely getting close), we just gave the ball to R at the spot of the recovery.  He just as easily could have given a FC signal and tried to catch it. IN the end, no one blinked an eye at how we handled it due to time/score (if anyone even knew, which was doubtful) and as Ralph would say, the band played on...

It's structured that way so B can't fair catch a blocked kick behind the LOS and get a cheap KCI.

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2023, 12:57:32 PM »
It's structured that way so B can't fair catch a blocked kick behind the LOS and get a cheap KCI.

And to further that point, it's likely that neither side would be looking for or expecting a FC signal here right at the LOS as almost certainly players from both teams would be tracking the flight of the ball.
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Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2023, 02:53:28 PM »
...(I believe it's the same for NCAA as well as NHFS.)

NCAA
6.5.1.c Rules pertaining to a fair catch apply only when a scrimmage kick crosses the neutral zone or during free kicks.

Don't know if they are the same or not, but, FYI, for NCAA, a signal by a player of either team BEHIND THE NEUTRAL ZONE is nothing - just a guy waving his arm. If a scrimmage kick is caught behind the NZ by either team, following an arm-waving action of any player, anywhere on the field, the ball is alive and in play. That arm-waving meant nothing (except to the hot cheerleader to whom he was waving).
KCI does NOT apply behind the NZ. Fair Catch protection only applies to a Fair Catch, and a Fair Catch can only be made BEYOND the NZ. So, legal blocking of a player of either team behind the NZ is neither KCI nor illegal blocking of a fair catch signaler. Targeting rules certainly apply to such a player attempting to catch the ball - he is defenseless, by rule. But, the ball remains alive and in play (while behind the NZ), whether caught or not (by either team). You might be tempted to think of it as a glorified fumble. Unfortunately, while similar, they are not the same. There are rules specific to kicks that still apply, such as when the scrimmage-kicked ball goes OB (behind or beyond the NZ), the ball belongs to B (regardless of what down it had been), at that spot. A fumble OB is governed by 'forward fumble out of bounds rules,' whereas a legal kick is not governed by such rules.
As for free kicks, a 'signal' by Team A is just arm-waving - it means nothing (cheerleader?). But, we know that Team A cannot advance a legally kicked ball, so the ball would be dead when caught. A 'signal' (valid or invalid) by Team B will cause the ball to become dead when caught or recovered by Team B. KCI is afforded all Team B players in position to catch the kick. A valid signal by a Team B player will afford the SIGNALER protection from post-catch contact by A, if he makes the catch, anywhere on the field.

I didn't intend to intervene with NCAA rules, but when somebody mentioned something that isn't quite right, I had to clear it up. You NFHS guys might verify that your rules are different (or the same?).


Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2023, 04:05:44 PM »
NCAA
6.5.1.c Rules pertaining to a fair catch apply only when a scrimmage kick crosses the neutral zone or during free kicks.

Don't know if they are the same or not, but, FYI, for NCAA, a signal by a player of either team BEHIND THE NEUTRAL ZONE is nothing - just a guy waving his arm. If a scrimmage kick is caught behind the NZ by either team, following an arm-waving action of any player, anywhere on the field, the ball is alive and in play. That arm-waving meant nothing (except to the hot cheerleader to whom he was waving).
KCI does NOT apply behind the NZ. Fair Catch protection only applies to a Fair Catch, and a Fair Catch can only be made BEYOND the NZ. So, legal blocking of a player of either team behind the NZ is neither KCI nor illegal blocking of a fair catch signaler. Targeting rules certainly apply to such a player attempting to catch the ball - he is defenseless, by rule. But, the ball remains alive and in play (while behind the NZ), whether caught or not (by either team). You might be tempted to think of it as a glorified fumble. Unfortunately, while similar, they are not the same. There are rules specific to kicks that still apply, such as when the scrimmage-kicked ball goes OB (behind or beyond the NZ), the ball belongs to B (regardless of what down it had been), at that spot. A fumble OB is governed by 'forward fumble out of bounds rules,' whereas a legal kick is not governed by such rules.
As for free kicks, a 'signal' by Team A is just arm-waving - it means nothing (cheerleader?). But, we know that Team A cannot advance a legally kicked ball, so the ball would be dead when caught. A 'signal' (valid or invalid) by Team B will cause the ball to become dead when caught or recovered by Team B. KCI is afforded all Team B players in position to catch the kick. A valid signal by a Team B player will afford the SIGNALER protection from post-catch contact by A, if he makes the catch, anywhere on the field.

I didn't intend to intervene with NCAA rules, but when somebody mentioned something that isn't quite right, I had to clear it up. You NFHS guys might verify that your rules are different (or the same?).
Pretty much the same in NFHS (6-5-1-8) Elvis.  NFHS does specify, "catches the ball "In or beyond the NZ to R's goal line".

Offline dammitbobby

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2023, 09:28:26 PM »
NCAA
6.5.1.c Rules pertaining to a fair catch apply only when a scrimmage kick crosses the neutral zone or during free kicks.

Don't know if they are the same or not, but, FYI, for NCAA, a signal by a player of either team BEHIND THE NEUTRAL ZONE is nothing - just a guy waving his arm. If a scrimmage kick is caught behind the NZ by either team, following an arm-waving action of any player, anywhere on the field, the ball is alive and in play. That arm-waving meant nothing (except to the hot cheerleader to whom he was waving).
KCI does NOT apply behind the NZ. Fair Catch protection only applies to a Fair Catch, and a Fair Catch can only be made BEYOND the NZ. So, legal blocking of a player of either team behind the NZ is neither KCI nor illegal blocking of a fair catch signaler. Targeting rules certainly apply to such a player attempting to catch the ball - he is defenseless, by rule. But, the ball remains alive and in play (while behind the NZ), whether caught or not (by either team). You might be tempted to think of it as a glorified fumble. Unfortunately, while similar, they are not the same. There are rules specific to kicks that still apply, such as when the scrimmage-kicked ball goes OB (behind or beyond the NZ), the ball belongs to B (regardless of what down it had been), at that spot. A fumble OB is governed by 'forward fumble out of bounds rules,' whereas a legal kick is not governed by such rules.
As for free kicks, a 'signal' by Team A is just arm-waving - it means nothing (cheerleader?). But, we know that Team A cannot advance a legally kicked ball, so the ball would be dead when caught. A 'signal' (valid or invalid) by Team B will cause the ball to become dead when caught or recovered by Team B. KCI is afforded all Team B players in position to catch the kick. A valid signal by a Team B player will afford the SIGNALER protection from post-catch contact by A, if he makes the catch, anywhere on the field.

I didn't intend to intervene with NCAA rules, but when somebody mentioned something that isn't quite right, I had to clear it up. You NFHS guys might verify that your rules are different (or the same?).

I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say - I know (for NCAA) it is just empty handwaving, my point was for safety, someone doing that isn't likely to expected to get blown up, and I don't see how a change to offer a tiny bit of protection gives an advantage to either team.

But, that's more of a discussion for other sections on this board, apologies for the threadjack.

Offline bossman72

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2023, 10:08:03 PM »
Don't know if they are the same or not, but, FYI, for NCAA, a signal by a player of either team BEHIND THE NEUTRAL ZONE is nothing - just a guy waving his arm. If a scrimmage kick is caught behind the NZ by either team, following an arm-waving action of any player, anywhere on the field, the ball is alive and in play.

I'm not sure if this is correct.  AR 6-5-3-I seems to want this killed.  They actually changed this AR since I started in NCAA from live ball to dead ball probably 10-ish years ago.

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2023, 05:30:47 AM »
I'm not sure if this is correct.  AR 6-5-3-I seems to want this killed.  They actually changed this AR since I started in NCAA from live ball to dead ball probably 10-ish years ago.
:thumbup
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Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2023, 07:24:11 AM »
I'm not sure if this is correct.  AR 6-5-3-I seems to want this killed.  They actually changed this AR since I started in NCAA from live ball to dead ball probably 10-ish years ago.

Well, crap. As I always do, I checked ARs, but overlooked that one, somehow. But this is ridiculous. B33 makes a signal 20 yards beyond the NZ while the ball is in the air. For whatever reason, the ball doesnít cross the NZ, and is caught by A12 behind the NZ. Are you telling me that A12 canít attempt to advance, or kick the ball again, or throw a pass? Baloney. What would keep Team B from making a signal on every field goal attempt to make sure that Team A couldnít advance the ball if it is blocked into the air and they catch/recover it behind the NZ? Thatís nuts. And the AR references 2-8-1-a,which talks about a catch made beyond the NZ. Doesnít apply. And 4-1-3-g only references Team B. OK, I can buy the ball being dead if Team B makes a catch after their signal anywhere on the field, but the AR doesnít make that distinction. A horribly written AR.

And I am sorry for interceding in what should be an NFHS discussion, only. I will stop, now. Maybe pick this up on the NCAA forum.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2023, 08:45:30 AM by ElvisLives »

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2023, 06:40:07 PM »

And I am sorry for interceding in what should be an NFHS discussion, only. I will stop, now. Maybe pick this up on the NCAA forum.

Thankfully, NFHS 6-5-1 seems to eliminate some of the possible confusion by limiting who can signal for a FC.  "Any "receiver" may signal for a fair catch while any "legal" kick is in flight."....

Offline Fatso

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2023, 08:15:35 AM »
the ball to land -1 yards behind the LOS.  The ball bounced, and K recovered in on the fly, then tossed the ball forward to his sideline, because he thought it was a dead ball, and the R whistled it dead when he possessed it.  So we had a weird confluence of a IFP, with IW.
Why would this be an IFP?

Offline Ralph Damren

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2023, 10:03:20 AM »
Probably a minority opinion but I'm actually not a fan of how this rule is structured (I believe it's the same for NCAA as well as NHFS.) I get that while K can advance a ball that does not cross the LOS, IMO a valid FC signal should buy him at least the same protection as an invalid FC signal, where he is granted the opportunity to catch the ball, simply from a safety perspective - he's made it clear that he's given up the right to advance the ball, and as written this is a prime opportunity for R to crater him, while heís in a vulnerable position, with no consequences.  If he doesnít give a signal, fire away, level him, whatever, because he didnít indicate he was trading advancing the ball for protection.  In almost all cases, I would wager that if K is signaling for FC, they are not expecting to get popped in the mouth unexpectedly.

If K drops the ball, great, itís a live ball, R can pick it up and advance, and theyíll always have that spot as illegal/first touching spot.  If itís caught, R gets the ball in a what is likely very advantageous field position, because the ball is immediately dead.

And OP - this is more likely to occur than you think! I had a play this past season where K punted, and the combination of a stiff wind and a poor kick caused the ball to land -1 yards behind the LOS.  The ball bounced, and K recovered in on the fly, then tossed the ball forward to his sideline, because he thought it was a dead ball, and the R whistled it dead when he possessed it.  So we had a weird confluence of a IFP, with IW.  After a quick huddle (and a peek at the scoreboard, K was already down by 30 or so, late in 3rd quarter with no hope of even remotely getting close), we just gave the ball to R at the spot of the recovery.  He just as easily could have given a FC signal and tried to catch it. IN the end, no one blinked an eye at how we handled it due to time/score (if anyone even knew, which was doubtful) and as Ralph would say, the band played on...

IMHO, you guys handled it well.  The whistle as the K player wasn't planning to advance killed the play as his forward progress had stopped. This prevented any unneeded hits, you can't have IFP with a dead ball and if the ball was tossed toward his sideline , there would be no DOG/USC as R would probably be bringing in their own ball. On funky situations such as this, make the call that has the least impact on the game and easy to understand. You guys did.

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2023, 02:51:17 PM »
IMHO, you guys handled it well.  The whistle as the K player wasn't planning to advance killed the play as his forward progress had stopped. This prevented any unneeded hits, you can't have IFP with a dead ball and if the ball was tossed toward his sideline , there would be no DOG/USC as R would probably be bringing in their own ball. On funky situations such as this, make the call that has the least impact on the game and easy to understand. You guys did.

Amen.

Offline SCHSref

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2023, 07:41:46 AM »
1. It's dead as soon as the catch is completed.
2. If he blocks after giving the signal, it is a foul by R.
3. There is no "fair Catch" as it relates to ball placement and FK after a fair catch or an awarded fair catch.
4. If he is given no protection, can K still be called for PF? I would think so as he is a defenseless player.
If you didn't see it, you can't call it

Offline dammitbobby

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Re: Signaling for a Fair Catch?
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2023, 09:47:44 AM »
Why would this be an IFP?

Because he caught it at the -1 from LOS and was past it when he tossed the ball forward to his sideline.