NFL closes rulebook loophole Raiders exploited for two weeks, report says

For the past two weeks, the Raiders have taken advantage of what appeared to be a loophole in NFL rules, but they won’t be able to do so again as the league has officially shut things down.

In Week 13, the Raiders started using a backing for their kickoffs, which was rather odd, as teams usually only use a backing when the ball doesn’t stay on the tee due to the bad weather. The Raiders’ last two games have been played indoors, so bad weather has certainly not been an issue.

Following the team’s 27-20 victory over the Chargers in Week 13, coach Josh McDaniels revealed why the Raiders decided to use a support at kickoffs: they hoped to gain more height at each kick by asking the support to place the ball at the top. of the tee. By adding height to the kicks, McDaniels hoped it would make things easier for their cover team.

The Raiders were using a starter at kickoffs

NFL/Amazon via Football Zebras

According to McDaniels, the Raiders checked with the NFL to make sure their idea was legal and that the league initially approved the team’s plan.

“They clarified a rule a few weeks ago that you’re allowed to tee the ball off now, so we’ve got a good kicker, you can add suspension time to the kick, and I think you Have you seen Daniel use this to our advantage,” McDaniels said on Dec. 5, via Pro Football Talk. “As long as you don’t hit him in the end zone, extra suspension time, put him on the goal line, we’re further out there, it gives the cover team a better opportunity to make tackles inside the 25-yard line.”

Ultimately, the Raiders won’t be allowed to do that going forward. According to, the league has informed the Raiders that what they were doing was a violation of league rules, so they will no longer be allowed to do so.

So why was it a violation of league rules to use a support when you are allowed to use one in bad weather? Glad you asked.

Under NFL rules, kickers are only allowed to use a one-inch tee for kickoffs. Most kickers in the league use a version of the tee below when kicking off.

During a normal kickoff, the ball goes into the divot, and that is why it is able to stay in place on its own without support. Using a support, the Raiders would place the ball on the top edge, which placed the ball approximately half an inch above the ground.

After some consideration, the league decided that the extra half-inch violated NFL rules since teams are only allowed to use a one-inch tee and it would effectively amount to using a 1.5-inch tee. NFL rules say the ball can be put on the tee in any way, which is why the Raiders thought they were following the rules.

If you’ve ever watched a kick in play, you’ll see how creative kickers can be when setting up the ball. For example, earlier this year, Braden Mann put the ball horizontally off the tee for an onside attempt against the Browns.

While you can set the ball up like this or even have the ball on the ground leaning against the tee, one thing teams won’t be able to do in the future is use support to gain an extra half-a-half advantage. inch.

In the event of bad weather, teams will still be allowed to use the rack, but the ball will need to be set up in the divot on the tee so there is no added height advantage.

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