NFL Video Rulebook

The NFL Video Rulebook explains NFL rules with video examples.

Roughing or Running Into the Kicker

Rule Summary View Official Rule

ROUGHING/RUNNING INTO THE KICKER

No defensive player may run into or rough a kicker who kicks from behind the line unless such contact:

  1. is incidental to and occurs after the defender has touched the kick in flight
  2. is caused by the kicker’s own motions
  3. occurs during a quick kick or a rugby-style kick
  4. occurs during or after a run behind the line
  5. occurs after the kicker recovers a loose ball on the ground
  6. occurs because a defender is pushed or blocked (causing a change of direction) into the kicker
  7. is the result of a foul by an opponent

Item 1. Roughing the kicker. It is a foul for roughing the kicker if a defensive player:

  1. contacts the plant leg of the kicker while his kicking leg is still in the air
  2. slides into or contacts the kicker when both of the kicker’s feet are on the ground. It is not a foul if the contact is not severe, or if the kicker returns both feet to the ground prior to the contact and falls over a defender on the ground

Note: When in doubt, it is a foul for roughing the kicker.

Item 2. Running into the Kicker. It is a foul for running into the kicker if a defensive player:

  1. contacts the kicking foot of the kicker, even if the kicker is airborne when the contact occurs
  2. slides under the kicker, preventing him from returning both feet to the ground

Penalties:

  1. For roughing the kicker: Loss of 15 yards from the previous spot (personal foul) and an automatic first down. The player may be disqualified if the action is flagrant.

  2. For running into the kicker: Loss of five yards from the previous spot (not a personal foul). There is not an automatic first down.

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