Most football pan take an excellent pride in their understanding of the game and also can easily specify a touchback. However if girlfriend asked these very same fans to perform all the various scenarios the can result in a touchback, lock would have a lot harder time. This is because the touchback, as simple as it seems, can occur in many different ways.

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So what is a touchback in football?

Touchbacks in football take place predominately ~ above kickoffs once the ball lands or a fair catch is dubbed in the finish zone. If a touchback wake up on a kickoff, the receiving team starts v the round on your 25-yard line. In all various other instances, the sphere goes the end to the 20-yard line.

The rule can sound simple but we’re just scratching the surface. To learn more about how the ascendancy varies in between college and professional ball, us encourage girlfriend to read the remainder of this article.

How Touchbacks occur in Football

There are many different methods for a touchback to take place in American football. The university football rules space slightly different and also I will mention them later. It’s worth noting the a touchback can’t occur to the attack team, since they need to be the ones that take the sphere over the score line.

The many common way for a touchback to happen is on kickoffs or punts. The receiving player can pressure a touchback by one of two people kneeling in the finish zone or by letting the ball cross the score line.

If a player fielding the sphere doesn’t host onto it, the kicking team have the right to recover it and score a touchdown.

As a note, the NFL do a rule change that ns will point out further under that provides kneeling in the end zone unnecessary. In the NFL a player only needs to let the ball cross the goal line on a kickoff for a touchback.

Because of this, absent returners will certainly sometimes enable the ball to land and also bounce toward the receiving team’s score line. The function of this is to shot and acquire a touchback, therefore you deserve to start at your 25-yard line instead of deep in your own territory.

While this frequently works, it offers the kicking team time to run downfield and potentially pen the receiving team deep into their side of the field.

If a player top top the kicking team makes call with the football, while they are in contact with the end zone, a touchback will certainly be ruled.

Touchbacks can take place on attack possessions as well. They take place when the offensive team transforms the ball over to the defense in the finish zone.

For example, if Team A is about to score and throws one interception in their opponent’s finish zone, and Team B downs the ball in the same finish zone, that a touchback.

This is additionally the instance if Team A fumbles the ball into the opponent’s end zone and also Team B recovers that in the same end zone. Team B have to stay behind the goal line, if they leave the end zone and also go ago into it, then a security will it is in ruled.

If the fumble happens external of the end zone the defensive player have to wait because that the ball to be within the finish zone to be awarded a touchback.

If he grabs it outside of the finish zone and also his momentum carries him into the end zone it is no a touchback. The is instead placed at the clues he touched the ball and possession changes.

The defense can likewise earn a touchback if the offense fumbles the ball in and out of the finish zone. The defense can’t bat or kick the sphere out of bounds without gaining a penalty.

NFL Touchback Rules


The NFL rulebook has a really specific failure of every the varieties of touchbacks. This is not surprising since as the richest and most famous American football organization in the world, the NFL must collection the conventional for the method the game is played.

The NFL specifies a touchback as when: “the sphere is dead top top or behind the goal line a team is defending, listed that the impetus originates from an opponent, and that the is not a touchdown or an incomplete pass”.

The rulebook also gives a malfunction of when touchbacks can be rule as watched below. This scenarios have the right to only occur if the round was sent out over the goal line by the offensive or kicking team. A touchback occurs when:

The ball is dead in the opponent’s possession in its finish zoneThe ball is the end of bounds behind the score lineA kick has not been touched by the receiving team and also the ball:Touches the floor on or behind the receivers score lineTouches a player on the kicking team who is poignant the round on or behind the receiver’s score lineTouches a player ~ above the kicking team who has actually touched the floor on or behind the receiver’s goal line and has not re-established self in playAny legal or illegal kick, various other than one which scores a ar goal, touches the receiver’s score postsIf the kicking team interferes with the receiver’s ability to catch the ball or call fair capture while they space in their end zoneIf a player of the kicking team illegally catches or recovers a scrimmage kick in the field of play, and carries the ball throughout the score line, or touch the score line v any component of his body while in possession of the ball

A touchback is called if any type of of these scenarios occur. If a team is compensation a touchback turn off a kickoff, that team starts with the round on your 25-yard line. If a touchback occurs however not ~ above a kickoff, climate the sphere goes out to your 20-yard line.

College football Touchback Rules

The touchback rules because that college football are basically the same as in the NFL through one noticeable exception. The fair record ruling the was made newly in the 2018-2019 season.

According to this new rule, any fair record on a kickoff or free-kick made between the receiving team’s goal line and the 25-yard line is ruled a touchback. For example, if a team called a fair capture on their 20-yard line, the play is ruled a touchback and also the round goes to your 25-yard line.

This ascendancy was put into place for player safety, together the kickoff is the most dangerous pat in football.

Making this fair catch rule meant that an ext kickoffs would result in touchbacks. An ext touchbacks and also fewer return mean much less risk that injury.

How the Touchback Rules have actually Evolved


Unlike countless other rule in football, the touchback has actually remained relatively unchanged due to the fact that the video game was created. There to be a rule included in 1926 the made any type of kick that goes the end of bounds in the end zone an automatic touchback.

But besides that rule, the only modern exceptions come from the 2016 and also 2018 seasons in the NFL, and also the 2012 season in the NCAA.

In 2012 the NCAA relocated the point out of the round on a touchback top top kickoffs, an altering the spot native the 20-yard heat to the 25-yard line. And the NFL soon adhered to suit in 2016. Making the an experimental rule until 2018 as soon as it was changed permanently.

The factor for the change was the exact same as the fair capture rule – player safety. The 2 leagues assumed the by providing the receiving team much better field place on a touchback, they would certainly be more willing to take it a touchback and also cut under on returns.

This judgment backfired as kicking groups realized the they might kick balls high and also short. This forced the receiving team to capture the ball behind the 5-yard line but in front of the score line.

With a touchback unavailable, the receiving team was compelled to return the absent or threat the football no bouncing into their team’s finish zone.

If the sphere took a fortuitous bounce because that the kicking team, then they can trap the receiving team deep on their side that the field.

The NCAA’s solution was the fair record rule stated above. The receiving team could contact a fair capture behind the 25-yard line, remove the possibility of being pinned. And also cutting down on danger return plays.

The NFL likewise made a tiny change to touchbacks ~ above kickoffs in 2018 which made kneeling in the end zone unnecessary. The old rules declared that a receiver would have to declare self “down” by kneeling in the end zone.

Under the new rule, the receiver would certainly no longer need to take a knee in the end zone because that a touchback. The ball would only need to land in the finish zone and also for the receiving player to speak to a fair catch.

The hope for this rule change was to cut down ~ above the variety of collisions that affiliated players running into each other at full speed.

The factor these touchback alters are so focused on the kickoff together opposed come a punt can be since of wherein the players heat up. On a kickoff, groups are set up through 15 or an ext yards that distance in between them.

Whereas ~ above a punt they are straight lined up through their blockers, cutting under on violent collisions.

Touchback vs Safety

A security occurs when the violation commits a foul in its finish zone, knocks the round out of bounds while in the finish zone, or is ruled under while in possession of the ball in the finish zone.

Safeties can happen on sacks or tackles by the defensive team as soon as the tackled player has not left the end zone. If the offensive player pipeline the end zone and then gets tackled back into the end zone through a protective player, they space ruled under at the spot whereby they last had forward momentum.

In rare cases, a safety can likewise be dubbed when a player actions out of bounds in the end zone while in possession the the ball. This occurred in 2008 to quarterback Dan Orlovsky, that ran the end of the back of the finish zone when escaping happen rushers.

The team who gets referred to as for a safety has to kick the round from your 20-yard line. Safeties are devastating to offer up since the other team scores two points and also you offer up possession the the ball.

It have the right to be straightforward to confused touchbacks and also safeties due to the fact that they both take place inside the end zone. You constantly need to consider which team has actually possession the the ball and which finish zone this is acquisition place.

If an offensive player is downed v the sphere in their end zone or the ball goes out of bounds v the ago of the finish zone, climate it’s a safety.

If an attack player loser possession of the ball and also it goes out of bounds through the defending team’s finish zone or the defending team recovers the round in their finish zone, climate it’s a touchback.


What Is the Goal line in Football?

In football, the goal heat is a white line that signifies the former of the finish zone. Any ball the touches or breaks the aircraft of the goal heat on a kickoff is rule a touchback. The very same goes for touchdowns; the sphere doesn’t have to totally enter the end zone to be rule a touchdown.

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What Is the field of Play called in Football?

The field of beat in American soccer is generally just called the ‘field’ but it is additionally known together the ‘gridiron’. This names originates from the beforehand days the football when the areas were marked in a grid/checkboard pattern.

What Is a field Goal in Football?

A field goal is a location kick that outcomes in 3 points when kicked successfully. Ar goals are nearly always take away on 4th down and when the offensive team is in your opponent’s side of the field. If a team is in field goal range, castle will almost always elect to attempt the kick than to punt the round away.

What Is Special teams in Football?

Special teams includes all the players that play throughout kicking plays. These players room responsible because that returning kickoffs, kicking field goals, impede punts, etc. One-of-a-kind teams regularly gets overlooked but plays a huge role in who wins and loses football games.