What Is The Definition Of Touchback In Football?
1. This is a term used in football to describe when a player receives a kickoff or punt from behind their own goal line and then proceeds to down the ball in their end zone, instead of trying to return the ball. The ball must cross over the goal line from a kick from their opponent.
A player cannot receive the ball in their end zone, then cross the goal line in a return attempt, then run back into the end zone in order to get a touchback. If they do run back into the end zone and are tackled by their opponent, they will then be charged with a safety.
A touchback can occur under these circumstances:
- The receiving player catches the ball in the end zone and drops to one knee.
- The ball touches any part of the end zone.
- The ball touches the end zone and it comes out of the end zone without either of the teams having possession.
- The ball is kicked over the end zone and out of bounds.
The result of a touchback on a kick-off is that the receiving team gets the ball at their own 25-yard line. For a punt, they would start on the 20-yard line.
Are There Points For A Touchback?
Despite the ball ending up in the end zone on a touchback, there are no points awarded for downing the ball in the end zone on a kick off or punt.
Examples Of How Touchback Is Used In Commentary
1. Hester receives the kickoff deep in his end zone, but will gladly take a knee for the touchback. The Bears will start the second half at their own 25-yard line.
SportsLingo Goes the Extra-Inch With The Meaning Of Touchback
In March of 2016, the NFL announced that if a player elects to receive a touchback, the ball would be spotted at the 25-yard line instead of the previous 20-yard line. This new rule change went into affect during the 2016 NFL season. With this new rule change, the NFL was hoping to cut back on injuries to special teams players who elect to return the kicks instead of kneeling in the end zone, as the number of concussions (and other injuries) on the field had been rising. By moving the spot of the ball to the 25-yard line, this would give the team a good starting point on the field and therefore would hopefully entice players to kneel in the end zone for a touchback.
What Are The Touchback Rules In The NFL?
1. On a kickoff or punt, if the returner catches the ball in the end zone and takes a knee, they are granted a touchback. However during a kickoff, if the ball goes into the end zone and the receiving team does not gain possession, the kicking team can pick up the ball in the end zone and will then be awarded a touchdown. The receiving team must take a knee in the end zone during kickoffs to be granted a touchback.
If the returner takes the ball out past the goal line, they are no longer eligible for a touchback. If the returner tries to retreat back into the end zone and is tackled, then it is a safety.
2. On a kickoff or punt, if the ball is kicked over the end zone or if the ball rolls into the end zone, it is a touchback. If the ball touches the goal posts or the crossbar while in the air, it is a touchback.
3. If a defensive player intercepts the ball in their own end zone and is tackled or takes a knee in the end zone, then that is a touchback. However, the player can’t go past the goal line and then come back into the end zone, otherwise that would be a safety if they are tackled in the end zone.
4. If a ball carrier fumbles the ball in the field of play and the ball goes into their opponent’s end zone and out of bounds, or if the ball is recovered and downed by the defensive team, then the defensive team is awarded a touchback.
5. If a ball carrier fumbles the ball in the field of play and the ball goes into their opponent’s end zone, and is recovered in the end zone, then it is a touchback as long as the defense does not bring the ball past their goal line and out of the end zone.
6. If a blocked punt goes into their opponent’s end zone and then the ball is intentionally batted or hit out of bounds by the defense, then the offense must decline the penalty in order to get the touchback.
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