FanPost

Help a Fan Learn the Game (But Please Don't Laugh)

I’ve been introduced to football about eight years ago. And even though I follow the Steelers and NFL as closely as someone living seven time zones away can, I have never played football in my life, and I realize that I know much less about football than most of the fellow members of the BTSC community.

So I thought I’d ask some questions I had about the game here – and hope I don’t get laughed at. These are pretty much random questions about how and why things work in the game… So let’s roll!

1. Why would you have two different people perform punting and place-kicking? I know that the mechanics of the two kicks are completely different, but the NFL and college punters and kickers I had a chance to meet, all did both amazingly well. Game experience tells us that there is no significant dropoff when a kicker has to punt – I recall Suisham punted during one game for the Steelers – it was decent. Imagine if they practice it. And it would save a roster spot that could be filled with a position player or a lineman.

2. Another roster question – why keep a long snapper? Why wouldn’t any linemen "add value" and learn to long-snap, and having them on the team would mean another roster spot would be open?

3. Jumbo formations at the goal line – all 9 offensive players at the line of scrimmage are shoulder-to-shoulder on both sides of the line, with QB under center and RB in the backfield – and 11 defenders are lined up the same way. In this situations, the runner has to penetrate a mass of 20 big bodies – and chances are, he may run into one of his own. Would not it be easier if the offense went spread if they wanted it to run, to create similarly even matchup, but with fewer bodies along the way?

4. Onside kicks – I think I know the rules for them, and the question is – why aren’t kickers trying to kick the ball as vertically up as possible, so that their teammates had a chance to get under it, while the coverage team could not get to it before the ball covers 10 yards? The ball may be tilted to a side on the tee, and it seems possible – though I have never tried – to flick it with a toe upwards, like soccer players do, angling the kick towards the sidelines? As I imagine it, it would give a much better chance of successful recovery of the onside kick.

5. A fresh question form the Packers game – in a blocked field goal sequence, why didn’t Tomlin challenge the ruling as to the fact that Clark was down by contact while he was trying to lateral the football? It is clearly a reviewable play, and it would also by definition establish possession along the way.

Thanks for helping me out with these! :)

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