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How a basketball player forced the NFL to adopt a rule against goaltending

You can’t jump to knock a field goal down right before it passes the crossbar, and this is why.

On Sept. 9, 2012, 49ers kicker David Akers lined up for a 63-yard field goal at the end of the first half against the Packers. Standing in the end zone was Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb, who was presumably going to catch the ball if Akers kicked it short and attempt to run it back with no time remaining.

The kick wasn’t short, however, though it did just barely get over the crossbar. As it did, Cobb jumped up towards the ball. He didn’t manage to knock it off course, but if he had, that would have been a penalty for goaltending. You read that right: the NFL has a penalty for goaltending. And this rule exists because 40 years before that Akers’ field goal, the Kansas City Chiefs drafted a basketball player specifically to foil kickers in just this manner. (OK, he also had a reasonably productive career as a tight end.)