A punt kick cannot be used to score a field goal. In contrast, in both American and Canadian football, the now-rarely attempted drop kick can be utilized to score field goals or extra points. The rule is that when you kick off, you are allowed to take the ball at any time before it hits the ground. If you choose to wait until after it bounces, then you have waited too long.
The reason why this is so in American football but not in Canadian football is because in American football there is no special type of kick called a "field goal". A field goal is defined as a kick from beyond 40 yards, while a point-after is scored when the ball is placed directly into the uprights from anywhere on the field. There is also a third type of kick in American football called a "free kick", which is used to give the other team the opportunity to re-enter the game without losing time. Free kicks are usually given if the original offense commits a penalty during their own subsequent possession.
In Canadian football, there is a special type of kick called a "field goal", which is worth three points on its own. There is also a third type of kick called a "free kick", which is used to give the other team the opportunity to re-enter the game without losing time.
A punt can never be used to score a field goal. It must be a scrimmage place kick or drop kick. A kickoff that travels through the uprights also does not result in a field goal. A punt is kicked before the ball reaches the ground, whereas a drop kick is kicked when the ball strikes the ground. Drop kicks are quite uncommon. Most teams will use their practice time to work on their placekicking technique instead.
The ability to field a kick after it has traveled at least 40 yards requires excellent range and anticipation skills. Puntters who can do this show up occasionally in the NFL but are very rare.
There have been nine such kicks in NCAA football history. All of them were made by college players, with three coming from members of the University of Miami football team. The first one was in 1950 against Florida International University. It was blocked by Carl Brumbaugh and returned for a touchdown by Pete Pihos. In 1951 another Miami player made two such kicks: one against Army and one against Tulane. In both cases the players were trying to beat the fair catch rule then common in most football leagues. They were allowed to keep the ball if they could kick it further than 10 yards, so they tried to put distance between themselves and their defenders by kicking long. Neither kick was successful though, and both teams had to settle for free throws after the opponents' players interfered with the ball.
If you're wondering if you can try a field goal by dropping the ball (a punt is a drop kick), the answer is no. The regulations are unambiguous. A "drop kick" is a punt, but a kick with the ball held by the punter (or backup quarterback, or whoever is the holder) is a field goal attempt. There have been attempts to change this rule over the years, but it has always been upheld.
In fact, the only time I believe it is legal to drop-kick is when you're trying to initiate a fair catch/punt fake. In that case, the referee will signal for a free kick if the ball hits the ground before it's kicked. If the ball is still in the air when the whistle blows, you cannot touch it again until after you've caught or passed it.
There was some discussion about whether or not you could drop-kick while fleeing from the police, but that would be subject to interpretation by each individual officer on the scene. Some might consider you to still be attempting to kick the ball even though you weren't going for distance so long as you didn't touch it with your foot once you had it in hand. Others might argue that since you're no longer trying to place the ball into the end zone, but merely scaring the pee out of someone, then you should be allowed to use all of your natural defenses to do so.
Punts that go through the goal posts do not result in points. It'd only be a touchback.
This is one of those rules that makes no sense but is there to make sure nobody gets hurt. If someone got hit by a punt they might file a lawsuit against the player who kicked it!
The rule was created because in the 1930s and 1940s players often didn't have much protection from the balls used in the era before inflatable balls were used regularly. If a player were to get hit by a punt he could be injured seriously or even killed. So the rule was created to prevent players from being able to reach into the air and catch the ball.
It's also worth mentioning that during these early years of American football, most teams didn't use any form of protection from head-on collisions. If you got hit in the head you probably wouldn't be too happy about having to come out of the game.
In modern times, when players are protected by helmets and other forms of protective gear, this danger has been eliminated. However, since the rule exists, some coaches will sometimes have their punters wear gloves so they can handle the ball if it lands in the end zone.
However, there is a legal loophole that allows a drop kick to count as a field goal. The drop kick is defined in the NFL's Official Rule Book, Rule 3, Section 18, Article 1, Item 1 as "a kick by a player who drops the ball and kicks it as, or shortly after, it strikes the ground." Loading... The New England Patriots are the only...
The New England Patriots are the only team to use this tactic successfully on record. However, prior to 2005, if a player dropped back to punt and then immediately kicked the ball away before it could hit the ground, it would be considered a safety.
What is a safe drop? A safe drop is any drop not followed by a kick within 24 seconds. Any further delay and you have committed an illegal shift, which is a foul that results in a free kick.
Why does my team keep trying a fake field goal? Your team may be trying a fake field goal because: They think it will help them win the game.