What is a Touchback? and Other Football Rules You May Not Know

For new fans of the sport, some of the rules and terminology surrounding football can be unclear or confusing. The meaning behind many of these terms is not initially oToucbvious. Here are a few football definitions to know!

What is A Touchback in Football?

A touchback occurs when the ball lands in the opposing end zone on a kickoff or a punt without being caught by a player. The ball is automatically dead at this point, and the receiving team gains possession at their own 25-yard line.

What is A Safety In Football?

A safety is one of the more exciting defensive plays that can happen during a game.

A safety takes place when a player of the offensive team is tackled in their own end zone or the ball is fumbled out of the back of the end zone. In this case, the defending team is awarded 2 points and will receive a kickoff and possession of the ball. 

What Is Offsides In Football?

An offside call occurs when a player on the defensive team crosses the line of scrimmage before the Center on the offensive team snaps the ball. Good quarterbacks and offenses will often try to draw the defense offside by altering the snap count, sending players into motion, and other vocal and physical antics by the quarterback.

What Is A Blitz In Football?

A blitz is when a higher number of players than normal rushes into the backfield, which causes chaos for the offensive team unless protected against correctly. Blitzes are usually carried out by cornerbacks, safeties, and linebackers in different combinations. The defense will attempt to disguise a blitz until the last second or fake a blitz to throw the offense off further.

What Is A Punt In Football?

A punt occurs when the offensive team fails to get a first down and is not in field goal range after three downs. The ball is snapped to the punter during a punt play, and he kicks it to the opposing team. Any player on the receiving team is allowed to catch the punt and attempt to return it up the field.

What Is A Fumble In Football?

When a player has possession of and then loses control of the ball, it's called a fumble. This can also happen when the ball is thrown backward and not caught by a player of that same team. In this case, the opposing team may dive on or pick up the ball off the ground and gain possession. If the player is still up, they can attempt to advance it towards the end zone.

What Is A Sack In Football?

When the quarterback gets tackled behind the line of scrimmage, it's called a sack. This statistic is recorded, bragged about, and celebrated by defensive players. Bruce Smith holds the NFL record for career sacks at a whopping 200.

What Is A Play Action In Football?

The term "play action" refers to when the offensive team disguises a passing play as a possible running play. The quarterback will often fake handing or pitching the ball to a running back before pulling it away at the last second and dropping back for a pass. This can sometimes make linebackers and safeties hesitate for just long enough to let a receiver get a little more open.


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