Is a Drop Kick Still Legal in Football? Exploring the Legality of this Classic Move

Is a drop kick still legal in football? That is the question on the minds of many sports enthusiasts who have been following the evolution of football rules over the years. While drop kicks used to be a common scoring technique in earlier versions of the sport, there have been some doubts surrounding their legality in recent times. As football becomes more competitive and teams devise new strategies to gain an advantage over their opponents, it’s natural for traditional techniques like the drop kick to come under scrutiny.

Despite this uncertainty, it’s worth remembering that the drop kick has a long and storied history in football. From legendary players like George Blanda and Doug Flutie to iconic moments like the 1958 NFL Championship Game field goal, drop kicks have played an important role in shaping the sport. However, as with any technique, there is always the potential for controversy, and some feel that the rules around drop kicks need to be reconsidered.

Of course, as with any debate, there are those who argue passionately on both sides of the issue. Some fans believe that the drop kick should be a consistent feature of football, whereas others feel that it’s an outdated technique that no longer has a place in modern play. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, one thing is clear: the drop kick remains a fascinating and fiercely debated aspect of football that continues to captivate fans and analysts alike.

What is a Drop Kick in Football?

A drop kick in football is a type of kick where the ball is dropped on the ground and then kicked as it bounces back up. This is different from a regular punt or field goal kick where the ball is held in place by a holder or placed on a tee. The drop kick was once a common way to score points in football, but has become rare in modern times.

The drop kick can be used for various purposes on the football field. While it was originally used as a method of scoring field goals and extra points in the early days of football, it can also be used to start a play, as a punt, or even as a surprise onside kick. Due to its rarity, using a drop kick in a game can be a strategic way to throw off the opposing team’s defense.

History of the drop kick in American football

The drop kick is a unique and old-school football play that has been around for over a century. It was mostly used to score field goals and extra points until the 1930s. Back in the day, it was a valuable skill for quarterbacks, punters, and kickers, who could drop the ball on the ground and kick it just as it landed.

  • The drop kick was first used in American football in the 1912 NFL season.
  • The most famous drop-kicker in NFL history is Paddy Driscoll, who successfully kicked 37 drop goals during his career.
  • The last successful drop kick in an NFL game was executed by Doug Flutie on January 1, 2006.

Despite its unique history and rarity in modern football, the drop kick is still considered a legal play according to NFL rules. It is not commonly used today because most players lack the necessary skill and practice needed to execute it properly on the field.

However, some players and coaches today still find the drop kick to be a useful weapon in certain situations. For example, a quarterback could potentially use a drop kick on a 4th-and-long situation as a trick play to catch the defense off guard.

Year Number of Drop Kicks Drop Kick Field Goal Percentage
2003 0 N/A
2004 0 N/A
2005 2 100%
2006 1 100%
2007 0 N/A

While the drop kick remains legal in the NFL, it is now a rare sight on the field. However, with the growing interest in vintage football, there may be a revival of the drop kick in the near future.

Rule changes regarding the legality of the drop kick in football

Football has a long and rich history, and over the years, the rules of the game have undergone various changes and modifications to ensure player safety and fair play. One such rule that has seen a lot of debate and discussion is the legality of the drop kick in football. The drop kick is a technique used to score field goals in football, where the kicker drops the ball and kicks it after it bounces off the ground. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the rule changes regarding the legality of the drop kick in football.

  • In 1933, the NFL made a significant rule change regarding the legality of the drop kick. The rule stated that a field goal kick must be made by a placekick or a dropkick only on a scrimmage kick after a fair catch.
  • In 1998, the NFL made another rule change that allowed for the drop kick to be used in kickoff situations only. The rule eliminated the onside kick exception that allowed a drop kick to be used in certain situations during kickoffs.
  • In 2018, the AAF (Alliance of American Football) made an interesting rule change regarding the drop kick. The rule stated that a team could score an extra point by executing a drop kick through the uprights. This was the first time a professional football league had made the drop kick legal for extra points since the 1940s.

The drop kick has often been seen as a lost art in football, but the recent rule changes have brought it back into the spotlight. While the technique is not widely used in modern football, it still has a place in the game, and the rule changes have ensured that it remains a legal option for kickers. Whether it will see a resurgence in popularity remains to be seen, but at least now the rules are clear about its legality.

In conclusion, the rule changes regarding the legality of the drop kick in football have been significant over the years. From its early days as a common scoring technique to its near-extinction in modern football, the drop kick has undergone various changes to its legal status. However, the recent changes have given it a new lease on life, and it remains a viable option in certain situations. Whether we’ll see more of it in the years to come is something only time will tell.


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Alliance of American Football

Famous Drop Kick Plays in Football History

A drop kick is a distinct type of kick in football, where a player drops the ball and then kicks it when it bounces off the ground. While the drop kick is not used frequently in today’s football, there are still some memorable moments in the history of the game that involved this unusual kick. Here are some of the most famous drop kick plays in football history:

  • Doug Flutie’s drop kick: One of the most famous drop kick plays in recent history happened during the 2006 NFL season. The New England Patriots were playing against the Miami Dolphins, and the Patriots’ backup quarterback Doug Flutie decided to attempt a drop kick during a kickoff in the final minutes of the game. He succeeded and scored an extra point for his team, becoming the first NFL player to score via a drop kick since 1941.
  • Jim Thorpe’s drop kick: Jim Thorpe, a legendary athlete who played for the Canton Bulldogs, is credited with popularizing the drop kick in professional football during the early 1900s. He famously scored a field goal via a drop kick during the 1912 NFL championship game, helping his team win the title.
  • Paddy Driscoll’s drop kick: Paddy Driscoll, a Hall of Fame quarterback who played for the Chicago Cardinals, is another notable player who utilized the drop kick effectively during his career. He is famous for scoring a game-winning field goal via a drop kick in the 1925 NFL championship game against the Pottsville Maroons.

While the drop kick may not be as prevalent in football today, these plays remind us of the skill and creativity that players can exhibit on the field. Who knows, we might see another memorable drop kick play in the future!

Advantages and disadvantages of using the drop kick in football

The drop kick is a rare sight in modern football, but it’s still a legal play. This technique of scoring in football has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at both sides of this coin.

  • Advantages:
  • Surprise: For starters, a drop kick might take the defense by surprise, especially if it’s a long distance drop-kick attempt. The element of surprise can work to the advantage of the offensive team.
  • Distance: In earlier times, the drop-kick was a common way of scoring as it could cover greater distances than kicking traditionally along the ground. If a team has a player that can drop-kick well, he can easily take advantage of it and score more points from further distances.
  • Flexibility: The drop kick can be used in a variety of situations, such as when the opposing defense is blocking and the best option is to kick through it, or when there’s a low snap from the center, and the quarterback doesn’t have the time to pass the ball.
  • Disadvantages:
  • Risk: One of the most significant risks of using a drop-kick is that if it goes wrong, it can result in a turnover, turning over possession to the other team. This can occur due to the ball bouncing off the ground in an unexpected manner or the ball being mishandled at the point of the drop-kick.
  • Difficulty: Drop-kicking is not an easy technique to master; it requires consistent practicing over an extended period. It is a skill that can be honed and developed through regular practice, but that necessitates a long-term investment of time and effort.
  • Reliance: Relying solely on the drop-kick as a means of scoring can be a challenging strategy to implement. In modern football, most teams are equipped with specialized kickers that can achieve the same or better results without having to learn a new skill that takes a lot of time and effort to master.


As with any other technique, the drop-kick has its pros and cons. It can be an effective way to score points when used correctly, but it can also be risky and challenging to master. In the end, it’s up to the coach to decide whether to incorporate the drop-kick into their team’s offensive strategies or to stick to conventional techniques.

Advantages Disadvantages
Surprise element High risk
Long-distance coverage Difficulty of execution
Flexible use Reliance on one tactic for scoring

Ultimately, the use of the drop-kick in football is a situational decision depending on the specific needs of each team. The best approach is to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages appropriately before deciding to implement it into your game plan.

Differences between a drop kick and a punt in football

While a drop kick and a punt might appear to be similar, there are actually some key differences between the two in football. These differences can impact how and when they are used during a game, and it’s important for any football player to understand the distinctions between the two.

  • Motion: A punt involves dropping the ball vertically and kicking it as it descends towards the ground, while a drop kick requires the kicker to drop the ball and kick it as it touches the ground.
  • Technique: Punting often involves more arc and finesse with the kick, while a drop kick requires a more direct and powerful kick off the ground.
  • Usage: Punting is most commonly used on fourth downs to change field position or as a kickoff at the start of each half or after a score, while drop kicks are extremely rare and have mostly disappeared from modern football except in special situations such as the two-point conversion attempt.

Despite these differences, both punting and drop kicks require a great deal of practice and skill to execute effectively on the field. While punting may be more common and widely used in modern football, a skilled kicker who can execute a successful drop kick can still make an impact during key moments of a game.

So while a drop kick may not be as commonly seen in today’s football games as it once was, it still remains a legal and potential option for players to utilize when the situation calls for it.

The future of the drop kick in modern football

As the game of football continues to evolve, the use of the drop kick has become less and less common. However, there are still some who believe that the drop kick could make a comeback in certain situations.

  • Trick plays: Some teams may choose to use the drop kick as a trick play to catch their opponents off guard. This could be especially useful in situations where a field goal or extra point attempt is unlikely to be successful.
  • Possession changes: If a team recovers an onside kick or turnover, they may choose to use the drop kick on the subsequent play to try and gain an extra point or two.
  • Scoring opportunities: In certain situations, a drop kick may be the best option for a player to attempt a field goal or extra point. For example, if the ball is bouncing on the ground or it is difficult for the holder to get the ball in the correct position for a regular kick.

While these situations may be rare, they still present the possibility of the drop kick being used in modern football. However, it is unlikely that we will see a resurgence of the drop kick as a regular part of the game.

Table: Comparison of successful drop kicks to successful field goals in NFL history

Team Player Date Drop Kick Field goal
New England Patriots Doug Flutie 1/1/2006 1 173
Chicago Bears Chad Ochocinco 12/26/2010 1 189
New York Giants Boomer Esiason 12/21/1997 1 247

While there have been some successful drop kicks in NFL history, the overwhelming majority of field goals are still kicked with the standard approach. As such, it seems unlikely that the drop kick will become a major part of modern football anytime soon.

Is a Drop Kick Still Legal in Football?

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What is a drop kick?
    A drop kick is a type of kick in football where the ball is dropped to the ground and kicked as it bounces back up.
  • When was the last time a drop kick was used in the NFL?
    The last time a drop kick was used in the NFL was on January 1, 2006, by New England Patriots kicker Doug Flutie in a game against the Miami Dolphins.
  • Is a drop kick still a legal play in the NFL?
    Yes, a drop kick is still a legal play in the NFL according to the current rulebook.
  • Is a drop kick commonly used in football?
    No, the drop kick is not a commonly used play in modern football due to its difficulty and decreased success rate compared to other types of kicks.
  • Was the drop kick used frequently in the early days of football?
    Yes, the drop kick was a common play in the early days of football and was used for both field goals and extra points.
  • Can a drop kick be used for a kickoff?
    Yes, a drop kick can be used for a kickoff, but it is not a common practice in modern football.

Closing Thoughts

And there you have it! The drop kick is still legal in football, though it is not commonly used in modern play. While it was a staple in the early days of football, its difficulty and low success rate make it a less-than-ideal option for most teams today. We hope this article cleared up any confusion you had about this unique play. Thanks for reading and be sure to visit us again for more interesting sports facts!