What Is a Coffin Corner – Football Terminology

A coffin corner punt in football refers to a punt that travels out of bounds between the opponents five-yard line and goal line. This is the biggest feat a punter can offer his team as it can give your team a great advantage on the next possession.

Benefits Of A Coffin Corner Punt

This play occurs when a punter punts the ball and it goes out of bounds in between the opponent’s five-yard line and the goal line whether through the air or via a bounce.

The location on the field in which the ball went out of bounds is where the opposing team will start their next possession.

This means a coffin corner will result in the opposing team starting their possession from within their own five yard line.

If the ball were to travel further and into the endzone then the team would be awarded a touchback. This means the opposing team would start at their 25-yard line.

The difference between starting from within your five-yard line and starting on your twenty-five is massive for an offense. Not only are you closer to the endzone but you also no longer have to worry about getting tackled for a safety.

The coffin corner punt also stops the opposing team from getting a punt return. By placing the ball out of bounds you off the other team no chance to field the ball.

By kicking it inbounds a punt returner would have an opportunity to catch the ball. They then can advance it for a better field position.

Punt returners are often athletic and quick players like slot receivers. These players can pick up some serious yardage on the field. This makes kicking it out of bounds that much more important.

Are Coffin Corners An Official Statistic?

No coffin corners are not officially counted by the NFL or NCAA but they do have a statistic for punting close to the end zone.

The statistic kept on punters closest to coffin corners is the “In 20” statistic. This measures the number of punts a punter is able to down within the twenty-yard line. This includes puts downed by teammates as well as punts out of bounds within the twenty.

This, of course, is not the same as a coffin corner which must travel out of bounds within the five-yard line. But this statistic does display punter’s ability to down his punt close to the opponent’s endzone without forcing a touchback.

Where Did The Name Come From?

The name coffin corner was derived from old victorian houses. As you walk down the staircase on many Victorian homes you will notice that there is a large indent into the walls often halfway down the staircase.

These indents typically hold items like vases or paintings and act as a place to decorate your house. These little nooks are referred to as coffin corners. The myth regarding the name of these niches states that these were put in place to allow a coffin to be carried down the stairs.

In victorian times it was common to die in your bed. This meant your body would be carried out of your house in a coffin. These nooks gave you more room when going down the stairs so you would be able to fit the coffin.

Unfortunately, this story is not true. Either way, it is still interesting this naming of this feature of Victorian houses found its way to the NFL.

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