What is the definition of fumble in football?
What is a fumble in American football?
In an American football game, fumbles happen when a ball carrier loses control of the ball and drops it before being tackled.
A fumble can occur when the ball slips from the ball carrier’s grip. It can also occur if the ball is knocked out of the ball carrier’s hands by an opposing player, which is known as a forced fumble.
A forward pass which doesn’t reach a receiver does not count as a fumble. Instead, it is counted as an incomplete pass. However, if the receiver catches the ball but then drops it after gaining control, it is counted as a fumble.
What do you do when you fumble?
If you’re the ball carrier and you fumble the ball, you should attempt to make a fumble recovery by getting control of the ball again by diving on it or picking it up. If you’re unable to get to the ball, you can try to block the opposing players so that one of the members of your own team can recover the fumble.
An offensive or defensive player is permitted to make a fumble recovery. Both teams will try to go for a fumbled ball as quickly as possible in order to keep or gain possession of the ball.
What happens after a fumble?
A ball that is fumbled is considered a live ball unless it goes out of bounds before a player can recover it. A fumble may be recovered by any player on either team when it hits the ground.
If the fumbler or another member of the offensive team recovers the ball, they can pick it up and run it down the field. If they dive on the ball, they keep possession but the ball is dead. The opposing team gets a touchdown if they recover a fumble in the opposing end zone, or a safety if they recover a fumble in their own end zone.
If the defensive team recovers a fumble, they can pick it up and run toward the opposing team’s end zone. The ball is dead and the defensive team gains possession if one of their players makes the fumble recovery by diving on it. The defensive team receives a touchback if the fumble recovery occurs in their own end zone.
What happens when a fumble goes out of bounds?
A fumble that goes out of bounds at the sideline is returned to the team that was in possession at the spot where the ball went out of bounds.
What happens if you fumble the ball out of the end zone?
If a player fumbles the ball and it goes forward and then out of the end zone, the play is then ruled a touchback and the defensive team will be awarded the ball.
If an offensive team is in their own end zone when a fumble occurs and the defending team forces a fumble that goes out of bounds, the play is then ruled a safety.
Can a punt be fumbled?
Punts are treated like fumbles after touching a player on the receiving team. However, the correct term for this scenario is a muffed punt. The play is only recorded as a fumble if the receiving team gains control of the ball following a punt and then drops it.
What are the NFL rules for a fumble?
In the NFL, all turnovers (including fumbles) are automatically reviewed. This rule does not apply in college football.
What is one way to describe a fumble?
A fumble is a potential turnover event in football. If the defensive team makes a fumble recovery, they gain possession of the ball. This is known as a fumble lost.
For the fumbler, dropping the ball puts their team’s possession in jeopardy. Fumbles are also tracked for each individual player, and having a high number of fumbles reflects badly on their performance.
Fumble rules on the fourth down
One aspect of the fumble that few people know is that when a player fumbles the ball on fourth down, only the ball carrier is eligible to recover the ball and advance it.
In addition, if a player fumbles the ball when there is under two minutes to play in a half, only the ball carrier is eligible to recover and advance the ball on offense.
If any other offensive player recovers the football in these scenarios, the ball is called dead and the spot of the ball will be marked where the fumble occurred, unless the ball was fumbled behind the line of scrimmage where the ball will then be spotted at the recovery. In either instance, any defensive player is eligible to recover the ball and advance it.
Famous fumble plays
A few particularly memorable fumble plays have made it into the football history books, including the butt fumble and fumblerooski.
The butt fumble occurred on November 22, 2012 in a matchup between the New York Jets and New England Patriots. In the Thanksgiving Day game, the Patriots were leading 14-0 in the second quarter. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez then lined up behind center, while his teammates set up in an I-formation, with Shonn Green at running back and Lex Hilliard at fullback stacked behind him.
Sanchez intended to immediately hand the ball off to Hilliard on his right, while Green would run to the left in an effort to misdirect the Patriots defense. However, Sanchez mistakenly turned to his left instead of his right, which meant that Hilliard ran right past him and wasn’t able to receive the ball via handoff.
In attempt to salvage the play, Sanchez scrambled up the middle. However, as he ran forward, he ran into the backside of Brandon Moore, his right guard. As he collided with Moore’s buttocks, Sanchez fell and fumbled the ball, earning the play its infamous name. To make matters worse, Patriots safety Steve Gregory made the fumble recovery and ran it back over the goal line for a touchdown, increasing the Patriots’ lead to 21-0.
This inept play was part of a string of bad events for the Jets in the second quarter. In just 52 seconds of game time, the Jets lost three fumbles, including the butt fumble, and the Patriots scored three touchdowns. Overall, the Jets were outscored 35-3 in that quarter, and they ultimately lost to the Patriots with a final score of 49-19 at the end of the fourth quarter.
The fumblerooski is a trick play that several teams have employed to outsmart the opposing team’s defense. During the play, one of the members of the offense (usually the quarterback) places the ball on the ground in a sneaky way that’s difficult for the defense to detect.
As this intentional fumble occurs, another offensive player pretends to be the ball carrier while trying to run forward. The defense focuses their attack on the player acting as ball carrier. Meanwhile, another member of the offense picks the fumbled ball up off the ground and runs with it in a different direction. If the play is well-executed, they’ll be able to gain significant yardage or even score a touchdown before the defense realizes what’s happening.
The fumblerooski was invented by coach John Heisman in the early days of football when trick plays were much more common than they are today. However, it wasn’t widely recognized until a particularly memorable incident in the 1984 Orange Bowl. At the end of the first quarter, Miami was up 17-0 over Nebraska, who was ranked #1 at the time. Near the beginning of the second quarter, Nebraska quarterback Turner Gill employed the fumblerooski, covertly placing the ball on the turf near the 20-yard line so that by offensive guard Dean Steinkuhler could pick it up and run it in for a touchdown.
Another memorable fumblerooski occurred again at an Orange Bowl in which Miami was playing, this time in 1988. In that game, Oklahoma quarterback Charles Thompson set down the ball, and offensive guard Mark Hutson picked it up and ran for a touchdown. In both the 1984 and 1988 Orange Bowl games, the teams who successfully ran a fumblerooski ultimately lost to Miami.
The fumblerooski play is no longer permitted in college football as of 1992. It’s still allowed in the NFL, but only makes very rare appearances.
Who has the most career fumbles in the NFL?
As of the 2022 season, the following NFL players lead the league for the most career fumbles:
- Brett Favre: 166
- Warren Moon: 161
- Dave Krieg: 153
- Kerry Collins: 139
- John Elway: 137
- Tom Brady: 134
- Eli Manning: 125
- Drew Bledsoe: 123
- Boomer Esiason: 123
- Vinny Testaverde: 117
What does fumbled mean in slang?
The word fumble is also used outside of football, but with a similar meaning of mishandling something. To fumble means to handle, feel or grope for something in a awkward way or to make a clumsy mistake. It is most commonly used as a verb in a non-sports context.
The term “fumble” is thought to have Scandinavian roots, coming from the Swedish fumla.
What is an example of fumble in slang?
Some example sentences using the term “fumble” outside of football include “He fumbled his chance at his dream job” and “She fumbled for the light switch in the dark room.”
What is a word for fumble?
Some thesaurus synonyms for the word “fumble” in slang include bungle, muff, botch and blunder.
Examples of how fumble is used in commentary
1. Shortly after kickoff, the running back gets hit from behind and fumbles the ball. The defense recovers it and returns it five yards before getting tackled.
Sport the term is used