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What in the World Is a Free Kick Field Goal?

Nov 23, 2008 – 7:26 PM
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Shane Bacon

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If you didn't catch the first half of the Cardinals-Giants game, you missed a pretty big head-scratcher that goes way beyond "I didn't know NFL games could end in a tie."

With five seconds left in the first half, Neil Rackers lined up for what they called a free kick. Still confused on what it is? Here is the definition, via Sportaphile.
After a fair catch, an NFL team has the right to take a free kick from the line of scrimmage on the next play. If the kick goes through the uprights, the kicking team scores 3 points. It is also known as a "free kick field goal."
Basically, the difference between a free kick and a field goal is that it has to be after a fair catch, there is no snap, the defense has to be 10 yards back of the attempt, the kicker cannot use a tee, and the team can still kick it even if time expired on the fair catch (?). If that last rule is true, it seems like you would have seen one of these used since 1968, the last time someone knocked it in successfully. Rackers didn't.

I hope that helps clear it up. After the jump, there is video of the Cards' attempt from 68 yards out.

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