Video:What Are Special Teams in Football?with Andy Miley
Offense and defense battle it out on the football field, but special teams can can change the pace of a game in a single play. Here's a look at what special teams do.See Transcript
Transcript:What Are Special Teams in Football?
Special Teams: KickoffThe struggle between offense and defense is usually the focus of any football game. However, the battle of field position is first fought on special teams. Sometimes, these can be the most exciting plays of a football game. There are two kickoff special teams: kickoff and return. Kickoffs take place at the beginning of the 1st and 3rd quarters, and after every touchdown or field goal. A kicker uses a tee to kick the ball towards the receiving team's end zone. The ball must travel 10 yards for it to be a legal kick. Whoever recovers the ball after it has been kicked off has possession of the ball. The kicking team's goal is to keep the opposing team, who is receiving the ball, far away from kicking team's end zone.
Special Teams: Onside KicksIn certain situations, a team may "onside" kick the ball. This is when the team will kick the ball short and try to recover the ball before the receiving team does. The kickoff return team receives the ball after it has been kicked and tries to advance the ball as far as possible. This helps the offense by creating good field position for the offensive team to begin. The fewer yards an offense has to travel, the more likely they will score.
Special Teams: PuntingPunt special team occurs when a team's offense has been unsuccessful in advancing the ball for a first down. The offensive team decides to kick the ball to change field position, as they have surrendered their ability to advance the ball. This is usually done on 4th downs. A punter steps and kicks the ball as high and as far as he can. This is done so the punt team has time to get to the player receiving the ball. A punt return team receives the punt and tries to advance it as far as possible or attempts to block the punt. This will keep the ball from advancing, thus creating a better place for their offense to start. The punt returner has the option to fair catch, aka "keep the ball where it was caught."
Special Teams: Free KickFree kick: this kick is only after a safety so it occurs rarely. The team that is kicking has the option to kick off a tee or punt the ball. The same strategy of a kickoff applies. A game can quickly change momentum with a returned kick off or a blocked punt. Special teams add a bit of wild card to a football game.
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