Did we just see the next contestant for Dancing with the Stars? With this crazy footwork, this kid has got to be able to dance. Watch to the end to see some awesome skill.
Ok, so what was this guy doing anyway? We are supposed to be educating you ladies here and there on football. So here it is.
A little background
Typically, when a team kicks-off to another team, they boot it far down the field and someone catches it on the opposing team, runs it a little bit, is tackled and the offense comes on the field. That’s typical.
However, first thing that is important to note is that on a kick-off, the ball is ‘live’ once it has gone past 10 yards. That means whatever team gains possession of it after the 10 yards, they get the ball.
What is an onside kick?
Ok, so what is an onside kick? An onside kick is when the kicking team ‘squibs’ the ball so that it rolls awkwardly around on the field, bouncing and bobbling to make it difficult to predict where it is going.
The kicking team then tries to recover the ball after it has gone 10 yards. If they are successful, then they get to come back out on offense and start their possession around mid-field.
Why do you kick an onside kick?
You kick an onside kick in order to quickly get the ball back. The strategy here is most typically used late in the game when the kicking team is losing by a touchdown or less. They are afraid if they just kick the ball to the other team and hope to stop them and make them punt, there may not be enough time to score. Additionally, maybe they have had bad luck stopping the other team’s offense so giving them the ball back is just not a good idea.
So they take their chances and try an onside kick. The kicking team has an advantage of surprise some of the time but a well coached team should anticipate the potential threat of an onside kick. The receiving team, if they suspect the onside kick, will put a lot of sure handed guys (receivers, tightends, etc) onto the special team for the kick in hopes of being able to catch the ball.
How is a kick-off different than a punt?
This is different than on a punt because the ball is not ‘live’ on a punt. That means, if the team doing the punting gains possession of the ball, then all they are doing is determining where the other team’s offense will start. The only exception here is if the ball is touched by the receiving team. If after touching the ball but not retaining possession, the kicking team can recover as if it is a fumble.
Why don’t teams kick an onside kick all the time?
The statistics on the kicking team recovering an onside kick is about 1 in 10. Those just are not good odds to do this all the time. When they don’t recover, the other team is getting the ball around midfield providing them a short field to score again.