Weird NFL Rules

Yes, football is convoluted and inelegant. Its rules sprawling and idiosyncratic. But how weird can it possibly get? Very weird.

The Fair Catch Kick
The fair catch kick is a bizarre rule that still exists in the NFL. Most of the time, when a receiver calls a fair catch after a kick, the team will run a play from the line of scrimmage. In fact, you may have never seen a team do anything but that. But a team also has the option of taking a free kick-uncontested by the defense-at the goal posts. The kick must be attempted without a tee, but, if the kick succeeds, the team receives three points, just like a regular field goal. The last successful fair catch kick was made in 1968 by Mac Percival, who won the game for his Chicago Bears with the feat. It was attempted twice during the 2008 season, falling short both times.

The Point After Try
Like the fair catch, the point after try (PAT) is another weird moment of football where the normal rules don't apply. The PAT is an untimed play, which means that the clock is not running, and teams must take it during regulation, at least in the NFL. Even weirder, if the defense successfully thwarts the PAT and runs the ball back on the offense, it doesn't score any points. In the NFL, it -s just a regular dead ball.

The Third Quarterback
Here's one you probably didn't know. If a team inserts its third-string quarterback at any time during the first three periods of play, the first two quarterbacks are not allowed back on the field. For the rest of the game. The rationale behind this rule remains lost in the mists of time, but it can have a pretty hilarious outcome, provided that it's your opponent who tries to pull a fast one with the third-stringers.

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