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Sometimes when the kicker punts the ball and it goes out of bounds, there is a penalty because ball went out of bounds and other times there is no penalty when that happens.

Can someone please explain the rule to me?

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You're confusing a punt with a kickoff.

A kickoff going out of bounds is a foul, and the ball will be placed on the 40 yard line for the returning team to start, or where the ball went out, which ever is better for the receiving team.

RULE 6 - SECTION 2 - ARTICLE 3. FREE KICK OUT OF BOUNDS:

Penalty: For a kickoff out of bounds: The receiving team may elect to take possession of the ball 25 yards from the spot of the kick or at the out-of-bounds spot.

There's no foul for a punt going out of bounds.

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    Perhaps worth noting too, that for kickoffs, the ball itself doesn't necessarily need to go out of bounds for it to be an out-of-bounds foul - eg the receiver is out of bounds (example)
    – ImClarky
    Jan 17 at 13:30
  • Correct, since the receiver possesses the ball out of bounds, the ball is considered out of bounds even though it physically isn't
    – alamoot
    Jan 17 at 15:32

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