I always thought a kickoff was a live ball. Watching the FSU/Clemson game, FSU kicked off, the deep man let the ball go, but it bounced in the end zone and stopped. They blew the whistle while it was sitting there. Clemson was running off the field. I thought it was a live ball unless it bounces out of the back of the end zone. Was there a rule change?
They changed that rule several years ago, Bake. It is now not a live ball in the end zone unless an attempt to run it out fails like with a fumble, then it is live but it no longer has to be covered by the receiving team for it to be a touchback.
Rule 6 / Kicks FR-65
Ball Dead in End Zone
ARTICLE 7. a. When a free kick untouched by Team B touches the ground on
or behind Team B’s goal line, the ball becomes dead and belongs to Team B.
b. If the result of the free kick is a touchback (Rule 8-6) for Team B, they will
put the ball in play at their 25-yard line.
Ref’s desicion to blow the play dead. One of those judgement calls
With the rule quoted above, it doesn’t sound like a judgement call at all.
I think the ref blows the whistle when he sees there will be no effort to return the kick. The safest way for the receiving team to do that is taking a knee, but the knee is not required. But the one guy a couple weeks ago did not wait for the whistle and threw the ball down and the ref called it a live ball.