A kickoff specialist (KOS) is a seldom-used position in American and Canadian football. Kickoff specialists are members of the special teams. They are responsible for kicking the ball in the kickoff. These players tend to have a strong leg, often capable of making touchbacks, and capable of keeping a ball in the bounds of the field of play but do not have the accuracy or technique required to be a full-time placekicker or punter. Some kickoff specialists later become full-time placekickers, while some are marginal placekickers who are soon out of football.
Due to modern roster restrictions, most NFL teams do not elect to have a kickoff specialist, and instead use their placekickers (or, less often, punters) on kickoffs. The most recent NFL kickoff specialist was John Potter, who was kickoff specialist for the Buffalo Bills for the first six weeks of 2012 until kickoff duties were given to placekicker Rian Lindell. Other players who have spent at least some time as kickoff specialist for an NFL team since 2006 include Billy Cundiff, Steven Hauschka, Rhys Lloyd, David Buehler, and Todd Carter. Thomas Morstead handles kickoffs in addition to his normal punting duties, but does not do the traditional placekicker duties of kicking field goals and extra points. In high school football and most other professional leagues, one kicker handles all three kicking positions. Even college football teams usually do not utilize kickoff specialists, despite the much larger rosters at that level.
|Positions in American football and Canadian football|
|Linemen||Guard, Tackle, Center||Linemen||Tackle, End, Nose tackle||Kicking players||Placekicker, Punter, Kickoff specialist|
|Quarterback||Linebackers||Snapping||Long snapper, Holder|
|Backs||Halfback (Tailback), Fullback, H-back||Backs||Cornerback, Safety, Halfback||Returning||Punt returner, Kick returner|
|Receivers||Wide receiver, Tight end, Slotback||Nickelback, Dimeback||Tackling||Gunner|
|Formations (List) — Nomenclature|