So what exactly is the rule on running into the kicker? I have seen teams penalized for that this year but yesterday on the last FG when NE missed at the end of the game I noticed that their kicker got decked and there wasn't a flag thrown.
It's just another one of those rules that depends on if or what the ref see. Some kickers are pretty good at acting too, and that can turn "running into the kicker" (5yds) into "roughing the kicker" (15yds). I haven't seen a clear definition of how they determine the difference between running into and roughing, or what would even be considered incidental contact, and that tells me it's pretty much up to the discretion of the ref.
If a kicker gets hit, it's running into the kicker at the very least, unless the ref thinks it's an obvious dive, or if the defender is blocked into the kicker.
If the kicker gets hit on his plant foot, it's roughing. THat's there to protect a kicker in a very vulnerable position. It's the same as how you can't hit a QB low, very easy to tear a knee if a kicker is coming down and takes a shot to the knee.
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