Rule 6 - Kicks
SECTION 5. Fair Catch
Article 1 - Dead Where Caught
a. If a Team B player makes a fair catch, the ball becomes dead where caught and belongs to Team B at that spot. [Exception: If a Team B player makes a fair catch of a free kick behind Team B’s 20-yard line, the ball belongs to Team B at its own 20-yard line. The next snap shall be from midway between the hashmarks, unless a different position on or between the hashmarks is selected by the team designated to put the ball in play before the play clock is at 25 seconds or before any subsequent ready-for-play signal. After the play clock is at 25 seconds or any subsequent ready-for-play signal, the ball may be relocated only after a charged team timeout unless preceded by a Team A foul or offsetting fouls.]b. If a Team B player makes a valid fair catch signal, the unimpeded opportunity to catch a free or scrimmage kick continues if this player muffs the kick and still has an opportunity to complete the catch. If he (or another Team B player) subsequently catches the kick, the ball is placed where the player making the signal first touched it. This protection terminates when the kick touches the ground. (A.R. 6-5-1:I-II)
c. Rules pertaining to a fair catch apply only when a scrimmage kick crosses the neutral zone or during free kicks.
d. The purpose of the fair catch provision is to protect the receiver who, by using the fair catch signal, agrees he or a teammate will not advance after the catch. (A.R. 6-5-5:III)
e. The ball shall be put in play by a snap by the receiving team at the spot of the catch if the ball is caught (Exception: Rules 6-5-1-a, 6-5-1-b, 7-1-1-c and 8-6-1-b).
Article 2 - No Advance
No Team B player shall carry a caught or recovered ball more than two steps in any direction after any Team B player gives a valid or invalid fair catch signal. (A.R. 6-5-2:I-III)
PENALTY − Dead-ball foul, delay of game. Five yards from the succeeding spot [S7 and S21: DOG].
Article 3 - Invalid Signals: Catch or Recovery
a. A catch after an invalid signal is not a fair catch, and the ball is dead where caught or recovered. (Exception: During a free kick, if a Team B receiver gives any waving signal that does not meet all of the requirements of a valid fair catch signal, and subsequently catches the ball behind the B-20 yard line, the ball belongs to Team B at its own 20-yard line). If the signal follows a catch or recovery, the ball is dead when the signal is first given. (A.R. 6-5-1:I)
b. Invalid signals beyond the neutral zone apply only to Team B.
c. An invalid signal beyond the neutral zone is possible only when the ball has crossed the neutral zone (Rule 2-16-7). (A.R. 6-5-3:I)
Article 4 - Illegal Block or Contact
A player of Team B who has made a valid or invalid signal for a fair catch and does not touch the ball shall not block or foul an opponent during that down. (A.R. 6-5-4:I and II)
PENALTY − Free kick: Receiving team’s ball 15 yards from the spot of the foul [S40: IBK]. Scrimmage kick: 15 yards, postscrimmage kick enforcement [S40: IBK].
Article 5 - No Tackling
No player of the kicking team shall tackle or block an opponent who has completed a fair catch. Only the player making a fair catch signal has this protection (A.R. 6-5-5:I and III).
PENALTY − Dead-ball foul. Receiving team’s ball 15 yards from the succeeding spot [S7 and S38: PF-UNR].