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In American football, if an extra point kick is blocked can the offense pick it up and advance it or recover it in the end zone? Would they score 1 point or two? Does it matter where the ball lands after the block (i.e., passing the line of scrimmage vs. not) before it is picked up? Is it different in the NFL vs. college?

What's triggering this question is the 1-point safety rule. I'm trying to figure out what in the world a defender should do about a ball that lands in or near the end zone on a blocked extra point. Why is there any motivation at all to pick that ball up and try to run with it if they might be tackled in the end zone, giving 1 point to the offense?

I've spent an hour researching all the sources I could find, and they discuss all the cases of the defense scoring on a blocked extra point kick, but I can't find a good answer regarding the offense scoring if the offense regains possession.

  • "Why is there any motivation at all to pick that ball up and try to run with it if they might be tackled in the end zone, giving 1 point to the offense?" Why would they receive 1 point? – Acccumulation Oct 21 '20 at 3:32
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You can go for two points, if you recover the ball and score a Touchdown.

The NFL rules actually include occasions like these since they were changed in 2015 (before this rule change it was only possible to recover the ball in two point conversions). In College Football it was already possible before.

Rule 11.3.2:

  • If a Try results in a touchdown by either team, two points are awarded.
  • If the Try results in what would ordinarily be a safety against either team, one point is awarded to the opponent.

General Fumble after two-minute warning rules apply:

  • The ball may be advanced by any opponent.
  • The player who fumbled is the only player of his team who is permitted to recover and advance the ball.
  • If the recovery or catch is by a teammate of the player who fumbled, the ball is dead, and the spot of the next snap is the spot of the fumble, or the spot of the recovery if the spot of the recovery is behind the spot of the fumble.
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    Excellent. But the Fumble after two-minute warning rules are confusing me slightly. Is a blocked kick considered a "fumble?" And therefore only the kicker can recover and advance for his team after the two-minute warning? Or are you including that rule just in case a fumble occurs after the block and recovery by any player? – got2code Jan 18 '18 at 1:06
  • (If a kick is a "fumble," then after the two-minute warning anyone but the kicker facing a loose ball in the end zone has a huge predicament. Picking it up risks a safety.(defense) or dead ball (offense). So who would be willing to touch it? It's a hot potato for anyone except for the kicker) – got2code Jan 18 '18 at 1:17
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    @got2code A fumble can only occur when someone actually has the ball (e.g. after blocking a kick or any two point conversion). A blocked kick itself is not a fumble. – dly Jan 18 '18 at 7:53
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    So a blocked PAT is always a dangerous thing for the defense. The further it goes into the back of the end zone without going out of bounds, the more likely the offense will score either 1 or 2 points. Wow. Defenders had better not try to recover it if it's heading out of bounds. And if it's not going out of bounds they have no choice but to recover it and try to get it past that goal line or the offense scores in spite of the block. – got2code Jan 18 '18 at 22:52
  • Here's an additional question: if the defense returns it all the way and scores two, who kicks off to whom? – BobRodes Aug 29 '18 at 20:58
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I was just looking to see if Browns/Cowboys type play had ever occurred before and came across this....

MAJOR point that everyone seems to have missed is that any offensive kick is a dead ball as far as the kicking team is concerned once it crosses the line of scrimmage unless touched by the defense. <<Using "offensive kick" to specifically differentiate punts, XP, and FG attempts from "free kick" which occurs after scores... aka kickoffs occuring after TD's, FG's and Safeties>> Long story short, the offense cannot recover any blocked kick past the line of scrimmage unless it's touched by defense and the defense is under no obligation to attempt to make a play on the ball and can [and usually should] just allow it to roll dead.

Famous example -- Leon Lett and the "Lett it be" play that cost the Cowboys a game in the early 90s

  • I think you have a good point; the earlier answer doesn't really cover this part. You might want to edit the text some though; it's more conversational than is typical of StackExchange sites; we're more a question-and-answer site than a forum - see the faq and the help center for more on that. Welcome! – Joe Oct 7 '20 at 4:22
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I think if the defense recovers in their own endzone, and doesn't run it out, it ends the play (no points). It is only if they run and sweep back into their endzone and get tackled/fumble, then it can be a (1 point) safety against them (defense).

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