We get it, there are so many football acronyms out there it can feel impossible to keep track. Luckily this guide is on hand to answer the question what is kos in football.
The acronym kos is football means kick off specialist. This rarely used football position consists of a player that is only used in the kick-off portion of the game.
This kicker does not kick field goals or extra points. The only time this position is on the field is when the team is kicking off to start a half or to give over possession to the other team after scoring.
Why Do Teams Need A Kick-Off Specialist?
The main reason that teams use a kick off specialist is so that they can generate touchbacks. Touchbacks on kickoffs are the optimal outcome that a team can achieve each time they kick off the ball.
Though teams may be able to tackle a player before the twenty-five-yard line touchbacks are still the usual priority of the kick-off team.
This is because a touchback guarantees the opposing team will not have a big return. It will ensure the opposing team starts at their own twenty-five-yard line. And it also makes sure no players get injured.
The touchback starting point was changed from the twenty-yard line to the twenty-five-yard line to reduce kick off returns. This was done because kickoffs are one of the plays most likely to cause injury in a football game.
By utilizing a kick off specialist you will find touchbacks will be easy to come by.
Now you may be wondering why teams would need a KOS if they already have a kicker. After all shouldn’t your team’s kicker be able to generate touchbacks?
Why Can’t Kickers Get Touchbacks?
The answer to this question is yes a kicker should be able to generate touchbacks on a kick off but not all kickers can on. The most common situation in which a kickoff specialist is used is when there is a veteran kicker on the roster.
The majority of veteran kickers start to lose some of their distance as they get into the later years of their career. But their consistency and ability to make the high pressure kicks can often keep them on the payroll.
With few reliable kicking options as free agents, teams sometimes choose to add a kick off specialist to finish off the job.
This means the older kicker will handle the field goal and extra point duties. While the kick-off specialist will only be used in the kick off portion of the game.
What Positions Usually Play This Role?
So we’ve established what a kos is in football and why this position is used. Now it’s time to figure out which players play the role of KOS, is it another positional player or does the team bring in another kicker.
The answer to this question is a little bit of both. Though kos are relatively rare there have been examples in which a second kicker is brought in as well as examples in which another player on the roster filled the role.
The reason teams do not like to bring in an extra kicker is because it is going to take up a roster spot. Most teams don’t expect to carry two kickers meaning another roster worthy player will have to be cut.
The most recent example of two kickers on the roster came on the 2014 Buffalo Bills. This team rostered two kickers with Jordan Gay being solely responsible for kick offs.
Punter As A KOS
When teams do not elect to bring in another kicker it is usually the punter that takes over the duties. Punters usually have the ability to kick balls deep enough for a touchback. This makes for an easy fix as these players can simply step in for the play then go back to punting duties.
That being said the punter usually steps in for this job when a kicker or KOS is injured or unable to do his duties. Punters do not tend to go through an entire season both doing kickoffs and punts. As these two movements done over and over can result in injury.