What Is A Touchback In Football?

What Is A Touchback In Football? Touchback is a ruling made and signaled by the officials in American Football when the ball is not in play.

The players cannot pick it up on or behind a team’s goal line. Touchback for a new fan is when a team kicks the ball into the goal line and the teams restart the play far up the field.

The opposing team gives the ball to travel over or across the goal line but does not have possession. Then, the offense automatically restarts the ball at the 25-yard line.

The momentum for this ruling can come from a punt, throw, fumble, or in some instances, batting the ball. This decision results from things that could happen during a play and is not the play itself.

Fumbling the ball through the goal line is another way to get the ruling. Spectators are sometimes puzzled by this when it happens because it is less frequently observed but still prevalent.

The ruling will also be signaled if the receiver flags a fair catch before collecting the ball or kneels after doing so. But these two situations are no longer relevant due to rule changes implemented in 2004 and 2011.

Touchback In Football

A touchback in American football is when the ball becomes dead on or behind the byline a team is defending.

A touchback signals the automatic start of an offensive drive at the 25-yard line whenever the ball exits the field through the end zone of a team’s opponent on a previous play.
When a ball leaves the field of play via the end zone, there is no way to detect it; hence the decision is necessary.

The attempt to get the ball as deep into the opponent’s territory as possible during kicking plays, pinning them there and doing their uphill climb that much steeper. It will frequently backfire and end up in the end zone, resulting in a touchback. This play is familiar to most fans and is commonly seen during kicking plays.

Since the 2018 campaign, kickoffs that result in a fair catch by the receiving club between its 25-yard and goal lines are also given the ruling in college football.

The outcome of a touchback is that the team whose endzone the ball got dead gains control of the ball and, depending on the circumstance, begins to play with a first down at their own 20- or 25-yard line.

The decision is intended to accomplish two goals. One is to establish a safe environment for the recipient first. For instance, letting the decision after a reception in the end zone prevents the opposing defense from diving straight into them.

Secondly, teams can aim to keep the clock running as long as possible to win a game. If you can call the ruling or let the ball roll out of the goal line on a kick, the time does not run.

What Results In Touchback In Football?

Touchbacks have different rules in the NFL and college football.

This ruling can be called off when a kickoff or punt penetrates the end zone and is downed by the receiving team without moving the ball over the goal line.

Any kickoff in college football that the receiving team fair catches inside its 25-yard line results in this decision. Similarly, every kicked ball in high school football that crosses the goal line’s plane, unless it is a field goal, is considered a touchback.

If a kickoff or punt contacts the ground in the end zone of the receiving team before being touched by a squad member, it will result in this ruling. A kickoff that enters the end zone and is later recovered by a player from the kicking team counts as a touchdown for that team when the receivers touch the ball.

Similarly, if a kickoff or punt leaves the field after crossing the receiving team’s goal line, touching the goal posts, or touching the crossbar and does not score a field goal, the officials will call for the decision.

When a ball carrier fumbles the ball while still in the field of play and enters his opponent’s end zone, the loose ball strikes the pylon. It either travels out of bounds behind or over his opponent’s goal line or is recovered and downed by an opposition player in the end zone. The touchback would be given to the opposing team.

For instance, if the ball turns dead behind or beyond the goal line when a defensive player intercepts a forward pass in his end zone. The intercepting player can try to advance the ball, much as when a kickoff or punt is fielded in the end zone, but as long as the ball never crosses the goal line into the playing field before it is downed, it is still a touchback.

Is NCAA Touchback Rules Different From NFL?

The NCAA’s touchback regulations are comparable to the NFL’s.

The only exclusion is a fair catch introduced for the 2018–19 campaign. According to the new regulations, a fair catch on a free kick or kickoff between the 25-yard line and the goal of the receiving team results in a touchback.

One scenario that would result in a touchback is when a team makes a fair catch on their 20-yard line. The ball will then be in the 25-yard line at that moment.

This regulation was designed to ensure players’ safety because kickoffs are among the most hazardous football plays.

According to this regulation, the opposition team will have more touchbacks and returns the more kickoffs it takes. As a result, the rate of injuries also decreased.

How Many Points Is A Touchback In Football?

There are no points given for a touchback in football.

While the touchdown gets six, Field Goal is awarded 3, Safety receives 2, and a Try after the touchdown will result in one point; the touchback will not give any points to the team.

Football does not award points for touchbacks since the ruling aims to transfer control of the ball to the other side at a specific location on the field. The purpose of doing this is to prevent a risky return scenario or to allow the receiving team to kick off a drive at a precise location on the field, usually on their 20-yard line.

The concept is that by starting the drive deep in their area, the receiving team will give the kicking team a more significant opportunity to stop them and recover the ball.

However, a point might be given for the ruling, which would incentivize teams to kick the ball out of bounds deliberately or do other things that result in touchbacks rather than trying to move the ball.

Football Touchback Vs Safety

A touchback and safety are two ways a team can score points in football.

A touchback is a way to give possession to the receiving team, while safety is a way for the defensive team to score points and get control of the ball.

Safety is a scoring play in football that wins the scoring team two points. Safeties can be scored in various situations, including when a ball carrier is stopped in his end zone or when the offense commits a foul in their end zone.

In American football, the team that scored the safety kicks the ball off from the 20-yard line to the team that scored the safety. Similarly, in Canadian football, the scoring team can take possession of the ball at their 35-yard line or kick it off from their 35-yard line.

When the player being tackled is still near the end of the field, the defensive team’s sacks and tackles may occasionally result in safety. In a similar context, if an offensive player leaves the end zone only to be intercepted by a defender, they will be better positioned to go forward from their knocked-down position.

Safeties and touchbacks frequently need clarification because of their similar field-focused scopes. You can see which team possesses the ball to differentiate the two rulings.

Officials call for safety when the ball bounces off the end zone or strikes an attacking player. Contrarily, a touchback happens when an offensive player drops the ball, leading it to leave the field in the end zone of the opposing defensive team.

Changes In Touchback In Recent Years

The NFL and NCAA have changed Touchback for the better in recent years.

The board adopted a regulation in 1926 that converted all kickoffs made outside the end zone into touchbacks. A kickoff was a live ball after it traveled more than ten yards before the 2004 and 2011 rule revisions, meaning the kicking team could recover a ball in the goal line for a touchdown.

The NCAA moved the Touchback’s starting line from the Twenty-yard line to the Twenty-five-yard line in 2012. The NFL tried this modification after learning about it in 2016 and tried it two years later.

The federation believes that teams would choose touchbacks over returns if they had a superior receiving position on the field. They will thus play a safer and less dangerous game.

However, once attacking teams learned they could kick the ball short and high, this modification had few sound effects. The defensive squad limits the pick-up area as a result.

The only option available to the receiving team in this scenario is to decide to return the free kick to prevent the football from crossing their end zone. If the ball bounces randomly, the team kicking it can trap the other team far inside their area.

The NCAA has developed a fair catch regulation to address this issue. The receiving team can call fair catches behind the 25-yard line. They won’t make a mistake as a result, and they can reduce the chance of playing risky returns.

The NFL slightly altered the rules in 2018 to remove the need for the receiver to kneel in the end zone. As a result, a fair catch requires that the ball touch down near the court’s end. Due to how the players are lined up, these modifications are primarily intended for kickoff plays rather than punts.