What Is A Squib Kick In Football – Terminology

A squib kick in football is a type of kickoff that flys lower and shorter than a traditional kickoff. These kicks are often aimed to land in the areas of the field which there are no kick returners.

This strategy forces the return team to scoop the loose ball off the turf lowering the chance of a big return and helping to kill additional time off the clock.

How Far Does A Squib Kick Travel?

Typically you want a squib kick to land in between the first lines of blockers and the kick returners waiting near the end zone. 

This means you typically want to kick your squib so that it lands between your opponents 40-20 yard line.

This area is often a soft spot in the kick return coverage. Meaning if you kick it into this area it will likely bounce before a player can catch it. 

Kicks start from their own 35-yard line in most football leagues. This means you want to kick your squib 25-45 yards in the air.

This distance should land you past the blockers yet in front of the returners. 

Keep a mind squib kicks often bounce so if it does in fact hit the ground it should travel even further than 25-45 yards.

What is a squib kick used for?

Squib kicks are relatively rare in football. This is because they can be advantageous in certain situations. Here are a few cases in which your team may want to squib their next kick.

No Big Returns

One of the biggest factors in a squib kick is that it limits a big return. With these kicks you will often find the ball does not end up in the hands of the kick returner.

The short flight of the ball often finds its way into the hands of a player that doesn’t often return kicks. 

By the time a return team player is able to scoop up the ball after the bounce, the kickoff team has usually made their way down the field for the tackle.

This greatly decreases the odds that this player is going to be able to create a big return out of the kickoff.

It should be noted that this kick will often give up decent field position. Squib kicks do not travel as far as traditional kickoffs as they are meant to land in front of the usual kick returners.

This makes it difficult for the return team to bust off a big return but since the ball lands so far up the field these kicks usually result in decent field position for the return team.

This is why squib kicks tend to be used rather sparingly.

Eat The Clock

Another great benefit of squib kicks is that they can kill some time off the clock. If you have ever seen Tom Brady with a few seconds left in the half you can understand why it can be helpful to kill that time. 

If there are only a few seconds left in the half or game then a squib kick can come in handy.

When a player returns a regular kickoff he can waive for a fair catch that will stop the clock. 

Though once the ball bounces the players no longer have this option. This means if you are able to bounce your squib before it is caught you can guarantee some time off of the clock.

Though in order for this to work the ball must stay in bounds and short of the endzone. It is for this reason you often see squibs near the ends of halves.

Is A Squib An Onside Kick?

Though a squib kick can be recovered it is not an onside kick. An onside kick occurs when a kicker intentionally kicks the ball short in order to recover possession. The main purpose of a squib kick is to limit returns and eat up some clock. 

If a team were to intentionally try to kick an onside kick they would not kick the ball as far as you would a squib.

On some occasions, a team may struggle to pick up a squid kick which could potentially lead to the kicking team recovering the ball, though this is quite rare.

Why Is It Called A Squib Kick?

The is no official reason for the naming of this kick that we know of, but it may be related to the original definition of the term squib.

The term squib refers to a short piece of satirical writing. In other words, something that is short and humorous.  We cannot say for sure that this is the origin of the name but it seems to fit the bill.

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