Squib kick (A Complete Guide) 

Squib kick are a seldom utilized tactic to prevent opponents from scoring touchdowns in the last seconds. However, there is one aspect of them that baffles me: why do kickers still perform the kicks?

Squib kick are made with three considerations in mind towards the conclusion of a halftime or game:

•Keep the ball up in the air

•To prevent a touchback and make the opposing team run out of time returning the kick, kick the ball just outside the end zone.

•Keep the ball far from the opponent’s main returner by often kicking it fairly short, forcing someone else to field the kick instead of the return man.

It doesn’t really make a difference how far the kickoff travels as as long as it remains inbounds, stays out of the end zone, and stays out of the main returner’s hands because teams trying to execute a squib kick typically aren’t concerned with field position (they frequently are only attempting to avoid a deposit Touchdown pass after the countdown has already expired).

So instead of keeping the kicker, why not switch him out for a player from either a different position, ideally a defender or safety? It seems like a significant advantage to have a second athlete on the pitch who can aid the coverage unit in preventing the loss of a return touchdown. Although kickers occasionally save touchdowns with tackles, they are typically not very effective against returns. Why not appoint someone who can truly change things? A non-kicker would ensure that sufficient one member of the broadcast team is unobstructed, drastically reducing the likelihood of a successful return.

Since the squib kick is simply a short-distance knuckleball kick, accuracy and power are not particularly important. Every squad undoubtedly has a strategic player who can kick the ball, or who might learn to do so with a little practice.

Is it really not even worth the minimal amount of extra preparation when squib kick have been so successful at preventing miracle Touchdown passes? In a game that goes down to the last play, I contend that every advantage should be used, even if the margin is little. This is especially true when the risk is so low because it would just require a short amount of practise time and would be very difficult to significantly screw up the short lengthened kick from a tee.

The Origin of the Squib Kick

All through the 1981 National Football League (NFL) season, the San Francisco 49ers are credited for using the phrase for the first time.

Ray Wersching, the kicker, has been unable to boot the ball higher due to a leg injury at the time. Instead, he was made to kick it off lightly. The ball landed on the ground rather than soaring through the air. On the AstroTurf, it bounced erratically and irregularly. The receiving team’s ability to field the ball was far more challenging. It exhibited traits of the onside kick, another type of kickoff.

This took place on opening day at the Pontiac Silverdome during the league against the 49ers and the Detroit Lions.

This was then utilized once more during Super Bowl XVI, which was played on AstroTurf just at Silverdome and featured a matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals. Two squib kick were made by Wersching toward the end of the half.

What Function Does a Squib Kick Serve in Gameplay?

A Squib Kick is used to extend the time limit. It is frequently employed towards the conclusion of each half or near the conclusion of a contest. The ball will end up in the possession of a bigger player rather than a top-tier returner because it traveled less distance.

Instead of going to a return specialist on the opposite team, it would go to somebody who is slower. It avoids a protracted return. It subtracts time from the clock and typically concludes the half.

Well-known instances of a squib kick during game

During “The Play,” one of the more well-known instances of a squib kick occurred. On November 20, 1982, the University of California-Berkeley Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinals played a game in which a disputed last-second kickoff return occurred.

With only four seconds left, Stanford was in the lead. Coach Joe Kapp of Cal expected Stanford to attempt a Squib Kick and entered his onside return squad into the contest. The ball was successfully recovered, and it was lateraled five times. The Golden Bears won by a touchdown as a result of this.

Another instance is the Indianapolis Colts’ usage of a squib kick for consecutive kickoffs during Super Bowl XLI. In the end, the Colts prevailed 29-17. Additionally, by utilizing a squib kick on every kickoff in Super Bowl XXXVII, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Oakland Raiders by a wide margin.

The squib kick was most recently exhibited in November 2020 by Sarah Fuller of Vanderbilt. She made history by being the first female player in what seems like a Power Five Conference match.

What’s the purpose ?

Squib kick are intended to stop a strong return. By shooting it low but short, the kicker tries to execute a squib kick, requiring anyone save the two returner experts to receive the ball. The squib kick makes teams give up better field position so that the opposition side can get the ball, but it’s usually safe since a big return is highly uncommon. Although it seems unlikely, a significant return is still feasible.

How far can you kick a squib ?

Squib kick often travel farther than muffed punts and shorter than ordinary kickoffs, while there is no clear definition of what constitutes a squib kick. If the return specialists do receive the ball, they are frequently surrounded by defenders and unable to do anything with a return.


Squib kick and onside kicks are two totally different kicks, while having some similarities. Onside kicks are made in an effort to recover the ball after the kickoff. To stop a huge return, onside kicks are used.

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