What is a Safety in Football? (2023)

In American football, a safety is when an opposing team’s defense scores two points when the offensive team commits a foul while on their goal line, a player gets tackled while in their own endzone, or the ball makes its way out of bounds behind the goal line. So, for example, if a team’s line of scrimmage is their goal line and they decide to perform a pass play if a defensive back or linebacker tackles the wide receiver while in the endzone, that would be considered a safety.

So, what happens when you get a safety in football? How many points is a safety in football? What is the difference between a touchback and a safety in football? Is this the rarest way to score in football, and why do they call it a safety in football?

Below we will discuss the safety rule and its role in the game of football.

What Happens When You Get a Safety in Football?

Like with a touchdown and field goal on the offensive side, a safety is a scoring opportunity but only for the defensive side of the ball. If a safety occurs, let’s say on a QB sack in the endzone, the defensive team scores two points immediately. Then after that, the original team on offense has to kick the ball to the defensive team to start a new drive. If you score on a safety, you get two points and the ball back to start a new drive.

However, one thing to understand is that the other team’s kick differs from a traditional kickoff that starts a game or occurs immediately after a touchdown. After a safety, a punt (not kickoff) occurs on the 20-yard line and is either a dropkick, place kick, or punt.

Also, unlike a regular kickoff with the kicker of a team kicking the football, the lineup is different. Unknown to most, a team can use a kicker like they traditionally do after a safety, but most teams will opt for the punter to head the kicking team and punt the ball because it is easier to cover. Finally, during a kick after a safety, the kicker can’t use a tee as they would via a traditional kickoff to send the ball far down the field.

What is an Example of a Safety During a Game?

Safeties tend to occur when the offensive team is on their own goal-line on a drive. Safeties tend to happen because there might only be a half yard between the line of scrimmage and the end zone. The offensive team must make a pass or run with the ball that gets them to the line of scrimmage on that play or further.

However, while teams try to move the ball up the chain, they sometimes get sacked or tackled inside their endzone. When this occurs, the defensive team receives two points and gets the ball back via the punt.

Also, defensive teams tend to blitz on the line of scrimmage. That means that the offensive team might only have one second for the QB to drop back and make a pass to an open receiver. Usually, this sequence happens so quickly that the QB gets sacked on a snap, and the defense scores points.

How Many Points is a Safety in Football?

A typical safety in football would result in two points for the team.

However, there is a one-point safety, which is extremely rare. A one-point safety occurs when a team tries a two-point conversion attempt or extra point but turns the ball over. The safety occurs when the defensive team recovers the ball in the field of play but manages to find their way back into their endzone and gets tackled before they can clear the endzone. If they had initially recovered the ball in the endzone and never left the endzone, this would have been a touchback, but since they initially cleared the goal line and came back, that is why a one-point safety occurs. Therefore, the kicking team receives one point.

The only other instance a one-point safety can occur is if the offensive team has their kick blocked or fumble the ball and recovers it back in their own endzone 85 yards in the opposite direction.

What is the Difference Between a Touchback and a Safety in Football?

The first instance that makes a touchback different than a safety is a safety earns a team two points, but with a touchback, a team does not earn any points. The second instance is a safety occurs when a player is pushed back into their own endzone, whether by penalty, a tackler, or fumble.

A touchback, however, can occur during punts or kickoffs when a player catches the ball behind their goal line, takes a knee, gets tackled, or allows the ball to travel out of bounds. The offensive team will then start their possession at the 20-yard line. A touchback can also occur when a defensive player intercepts a ball behind their goal line, takes a knee, or steps out of bounds.

Is a Safety the Rarest Way to Score in Football?

Scoring a safety can be rare when playing football because most teams avoid putting themselves in that predicament; however, the typical two-point safety is not the rarest way to score in football. Instead, the rarest way to score in the NFL is the one-point safety.

To this day, two one-point safety have occurred in college football, but none have ever occurred in the NFL; nevertheless, it remains a way to score per the NFL rulebook.

How Many Safeties Took Place During the 2021 NFL Season?

According to State Muse, eight safeties took place during the 2021 season. While eight safeties might sound like a lot in one season, there were 23,098 tackles in total in 2021. That helps illustrate how rare and unique safeties are during a football season.

Why Do they Call it a Safety in Football?

The term safety came into the sport of football during its early years. At the beginning of football, if a team was close to their goal, they could have the option of downing the ball into their own endzone and placing it at the 25-yard line; it was a safe strategy team implemented.

However, as the years went by, the league didn’t offer that safe option to teams. Instead, a penalty would occur if a player went down in their endzone on a play.

Conclusion: What is a Safety in Football?

In summary, a safety during a football game tends to be a gigantic momentum shifter. The defensive team scores two points and gets the ball back on a punt to start a drive on offense. Also, getting a safety puts the defensive squad back on the sidelines to rest, which is important. Resting your defense as much as possible is the key to winning games.

When a team is on their goal line, this is the moment you will see a defensive coordinator pull an all-out blitz to tackle either the running back or whoever is the ball carrier while in the backfield. The offensive team desperate for space will often perform a run play to get a few yards and breathing room. It can be a tight situation for everyone when they see their endzone behind them. Even though they do not occur that often, they can be the deciding factor in the game via the final score.

Similar Posts:

What is a Coin Toss in Football?

What is a Defensive Delay of Game in Football?

How Does Overtime Work in College Football?

What is Holding in Football?

How Much Do College Football Coaches Make?

Unsportsmanlike Conduct Football

What is the Heisman Trophy in College Football?

How Much Do NFL Coaches Make?

What Does the SEC Mean in College Football?

How Much Do NFL Players Make?

NFL Punt Play

What is a Hail Mary in Football?

What is a Blitz in Football?

Tight End in Football

What are Bowl Games in College Football?

NFL Pocket

What is a Wide Receiver in Football?

Can Girls Play Football?

What is the Red Zone in Football?

What is a Pick Six in Football?

QB Position

What is a Long Snapper in Football?


What is a safety in football? ›

It is a Safety: if the offense commits a foul in its own end zone or; when an impetus by a team sends the ball behind its own goal line, and the ball is dead in the end zone in its possession or the ball is out of bounds behind the goal line.

Is a safety 2 points in football? ›

Points are scored as follows: Touchdown: 6 points. Field Goal: 3 points. Safety: 2 points.

Why is a safety in football called a safety? ›

They get their name strong safety because they need to be strong and play the run from depth. Often, the strong safety will play at the same depth as a free safety but is responsible for playing a gap or run fit. In the present-day NFL, the player that provides the best visual for strong safety is Tyrann Mathieu.

Why is a safety two points? ›

A safety is worth two points.

The defense is being rewarded for tackling the offense in their own end zone, forcing the offense out of bounds within their own end zone, or getting the offense to commit a penalty in their end zone.

What is safety rules? ›

Definition. A principle or regulation governing actions, procedures or devices intended to lower the occurrence or risk of injury, loss and danger to persons, property or the environment.

Where is a safety in football? ›

Safety is a position in gridiron football on the defense. The safeties are defensive backs who line up ten to fifteen yards from the line of scrimmage. There are two variations of the position: the free safety and the strong safety. Their duties depend on the defensive scheme.

Is a safety 3 points? ›

Touchdowns are six points. Field goals are three points. Conversions are two points. Safeties are two points.

Has a safety always been 2 points? ›

After this happens, the ball is kicked off to the team that scored the safety from the 20-yard line. When a Safety is recorded, it is worth 2 points. In over 99% of safeties that have ever been recorded, they have been for 2 points.

What is a 1 point safety? ›

Conversion safeties (one-point safeties)

In American football, if a team attempting an extra point or two-point conversion (officially known in the rulebooks as a try) scores what would normally be a safety, that attempting team is awarded one point. This is commonly known as a conversion safety or one-point safety.

How do you score a safety? ›

Worth two points, NFL defenses can score a safety by tackling the offensive player who has the football behind his own goal line or by making him run or fumble the ball out bounds behind his own goal line. It is also a safety if the offense commits a penalty in its own end zone.

Is safety an easy position in football? ›

Safety is one of the more challenging positions to play in football. In many ways, this defensive position can be considered a hybrid between a linebacker and a cornerback. As such, it requires a varied skillset and body type unlike that of many other positions. These players usually serve as the last line of defense.

What is a free safety? ›

: a safety in football who has no particular receiver to cover in a man-to-man defense.

Why is safety always first? ›

The slogan “Safety first” means it's always best to be safe rather than sorry. It may seem like an easy way out of any responsibility or concern for our own lives, but in reality, taking precautions will keep us safe from all sorts of accidents.

Do you get 2 points for a touchback? ›

A touchback results in offensive possession at their 25-yard line while a safety scores one or two points for the opposing team.

What are the safety 2 questions? ›

What bothers you about the job? > What makes you uncomfortable? > What solutions have you come up with to make the job better? > What can we do to make that solution even better? >

What is safety with example? ›

Safety is the state of being safe from harm or danger. We need to improve safety on our roads.

Why is safety important? ›

The main goal of safety and health programs is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, as well as the suffering and financial hardship these events can cause for workers, their families, and employers. The recommended practices use a proactive approach to managing workplace safety and health.

What are safety rules in ball games? ›

  • Know the rules of the game and follow them.
  • Make sure the environment is not wet and the game equipments are ok.
  • Get first aid kit available at practices and games.
  • Use appropriate skills.
  • Stop training and games if you get hurt or feel pain.
  • Stop playing if you are tired or injured.

Do safeties have to be fast? ›

Free safeties also generally are tasked with more pass coverage than strong safeties, since the strong safety has to also focus on the run game. A free safety must be fast, have great tackling skills, and be able to easily read the quarterback.

Can you get a safety on a kickoff? ›

The restraining line for the kicking team shall be its 35-yard line for a kickoff and its 20-yard line for a safety kick.

Is a safety 2 or 3 points? ›

A safety is a point-scoring play that results in a team getting 2 points on the scoreboard. There are a few different ways that teams can record a safety. 1. If the offense records a penalty in their own end zone.

Is a safety a turnover? ›

But a turnover does not take place at any point in a safety. A drive ends with either a turnover or a score. You have the ball and are sacked for a safety.

What is the rarest football score? ›

Since the term's inception, a Twitter bot has tracked scorigamis in the NFL. The most recent scorigami for an NFL game was when the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the New England Patriots by a score of 22–18 on December 24, 2022, being the 1,075th unique score.

Is a safety 5 points? ›

A safety in football is when the offense commits a foul in their end zone, fumbles the ball out of their end zone, or is tackled in their end zone. The result of safety is 2 points.

Do you punt after a safety? ›

Why Teams Punt After A Safety? Teams more often than not choose to punt rather than kick for the simple reason that it's easier to cover. Punting the ball high in the air gives the kicking team more time to cover ground in the hopes than they can successfully beat back a charge or even recover the ball themselves.

Can you score 4 points in football? ›

Neither option is common, and four points have been scored just once in NFL history. This occurred in 1923 when the Chicago Cardinals scored four points against the Racine Legion. The Cardinals did so by twice scoring a safety.

Can you score 5 points in football? ›

To score 5 points in American football, a team must make a field goal (a kick that goes through the uprights behind the goal line) or convert a try (a run by a player towards the opponent's end zone that is not successful but is judged to be close enough to be called a touchdown).

Who is the best SS in the NFL? ›

Who's the Best Safety in the NFL? Given all the things he's capable of, Los Angeles Chargers DB Derwin James is the best safety in the NFL. James is simultaneously an elite pass rusher and man-coverage defender as a safety, complemented by high-level performance as a run defender and in zone coverage.

Has anyone ever scored 1 point in football? ›

According to the NFL's scoring rules under Section 11-3-2-C, the rare one-point safety is awarded when a safety occurs by either team during a "try," or a point after try such as a two-point conversion or extra point attempt.

What is the 5 yard rule in the NFL? ›

If the defender maintains contact beyond five yards, it is illegal contact. Beyond the five-yard zone, incidental contact may exist between receiver and defender. Penalty: For illegal contact by the defense: Loss of five yards and automatic first down.

How tall are safeties? ›

Safeties and cornerbacks are roughly the same average height (both around six feet tall), but safeties on average weigh about 10 pounds more.

What do NFL scouts look for in a safety? ›

1. INSTINCTS: They are going to look at his ability to read run/pass and to go make a play on the football in the run game and the pass game. 2. TACKLING ABILITY: Does he bring a physical mentality to the game?

What's the hardest positions to play in football? ›

Is cornerback the most difficult position in football? Dishman: I'd have to say quarterback is number one, because quarterbacks have so much pressure on them. They always have the ball in their hand, and the wrong decision by a quarterback can make you win or lose a football game. The second-hardest position is DB ...

How can I be a better football safety? ›

They need to be able to run downhill and make strong tackles, often as the last line of defense. They need to be quick, athletic and above all else, be able to communicate effectively with their teammates. No defensive player on the field has a better view of the whole field than a safety.

What is the easiest position to play in football? ›

Some of the easiest positions in football include: Punter. Defensive Tackle. Fullback.

What is the most important safety rule? ›

Some of the most important safety rules include staying aware of your surroundings, using the right tools for the job, wearing personal protective equipment when necessary, and following all safety rules and regulations. Make sure to consult your supervisor for more information on industry-specific safety rules.

How to do safety first? ›

This mnemonic device can help you remember the important points of making sure it is safe to provide care:
  1. S is for Stop. Pause to identify hazards.
  2. E is for Environment. Consider your surroundings.
  3. T is for Traffic. Be careful along roadways.
  4. U is for Unknown Hazards. ...
  5. P is for Personal Safety.
Jun 20, 2018

Who says safety first? ›

Safety First is a phrase we've all heard, but where did it come from? It originates from the Safety First Movement, a 20th century movement to reduce workplace hazards. The phrase has been in use since in the United States since the 1910s. It also became popular in Japan around this same time.

Why is the ball placed on the 25-yard line? ›

In an attempt to reduce the frequency of kick returns—and by extension cut down on injuries—the NFL decided in the offseason to put the ball on the 25-yard line after a touchback. The rationale, of course, was that the extra five yards might cause returners to gamble less often on kicks that go into the end zone.

Is a touchback 20 or 25 yards? ›

In standard outdoor American football, the team awarded the touchback receives possession of the ball at either its own 20-yard line or 25-yard line, depending on the specific type of play.

What is a pick 6 in football? ›

football : an interception returned by the intercepting team for a touchdown.

What is safety answers? ›

What is Safety? It is a condition that gives you freedom from hazard, risk, an accident that may cause injury, damage, and loss to material or property damage and even death.

What is the difference between safety 1 and safety 2? ›

Safety I takes accidents as the focus point and tries to prevent bad things from occurring, while Safety-II is emphasizing on ensuring that as much as possible goes right, expanding much more than the area of incident prevention and promoting a real safety management over a simple risk assessment.

How many types of safety are there? ›

Functional, Electrical, Intrinsic: the 3 domains of safety

As such, it can be helpful to summarize the three recognized types of industrial safety and point to the main safety laws and regulations, even though it will be impossible to provide an exhaustive picture of such a vast landscape.

What's the difference between a touchback and a safety? ›

A touchback is not a play, but a result of events that may occur during a play. A touchback is the opposite of a safety with regard to impetus since a safety is scored when the ball becomes dead in a team's end zone after that team — the team whose end zone it is — caused the ball to cross the goal line.

What is the difference between a cornerback and a safety? ›

Among the defensive backs, there are two main types, cornerbacks, which play nearer the line of scrimmage and the sideline, whose main role is to cover the opposing team's wide receivers, and the safeties, who play further back near the center of the field, and who act as the last line of defense.

What is a safety NFL scoring? ›

Worth two points, NFL defenses can score a safety by tackling the offensive player who has the football behind his own goal line or by making him run or fumble the ball out bounds behind his own goal line. It is also a safety if the offense commits a penalty in its own end zone.

How do you get 2 points in football without a touchdown? ›

A safety in football is when the offense commits a foul in their end zone, fumbles the ball out of their end zone, or is tackled in their end zone. The result of safety is 2 points.

What is an example of a safety in football? ›

If the football goes out the back of the end zone or out of bounds on either side in the end zone before someone gets full possession, then it's a safety. Likewise, if an offensive player recovers the football in bounds but is in the end zone when he does it, that's also a safety.

Can you kickoff after a safety? ›

The ball may be placed on the ground leaning against the tee, provided the tee is in its normal upright position. A safety kick puts the ball in play after a safety. A dropkick, placekick, or punt may be used for a safety kick. A tee cannot be used for a safety kick.

Is it harder to play corner or safety? ›

Cornerback is a more technical position than is safety. When you are lined up in front of a wide receiver playing man to man as corners often are then it's basically a battle of techniques. A slip in your form for even a second and you can find yourself on the wrong side of a long touchdown pass.

What is the hardest position to play in football? ›

Cornerback is the hardest position in football, and it's one of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Corners are some of the smallest men on the field, but they're typically the most athletic. Exceptional speed, quickness, and agility are prerequisites for the position.

Do safeties get the ball? ›

Scoring a safety

The ball carrier is tackled or forced out of bounds in his own end zone. The ball becomes dead in the end zone, with the exception of an incomplete forward pass, and the defending team is responsible for it being there.

What is the rarest final score in football? ›

The lowest possible score is 0-0 and has been achieved 73 times, though the most recent scoreless tie came on Nov. 7, 1943. The most points any team has scored in an NFL game is 73.

Can you score 1 point in football without a touchdown? ›

What is a 1-Point Safety? According to the NFL's scoring rules under Section 11-3-2-C, the rare one-point safety is awarded when a safety occurs by either team during a "try," or a point after try such as a two-point conversion or extra point attempt.

What is the least physical position in football? ›

Cornerback is the least physically demanding position on the defense but mentally, it's difficult. You better know your coverage rules — when to carry and who takes who vertically. Certain schemes are more complicated than others as there are not any teams that play man to man defense like they used to.

What is the least injured position in football? ›

If you want to play football, but not get injured, then you might want to earn a position on the special team squad. Only about 4 % of long snappers suffer injuries, and there are even fewer injuries to kickers and punters. When a special team member gets hurt, however, they are slightly more apt to need surgery.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Last Updated: 11/27/2023

Views: 5920

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Birthday: 1997-10-17

Address: Suite 835 34136 Adrian Mountains, Floydton, UT 81036

Phone: +3571527672278

Job: Manufacturing Agent

Hobby: Skimboarding, Photography, Roller skating, Knife making, Paintball, Embroidery, Gunsmithing

Introduction: My name is Lakeisha Bayer VM, I am a brainy, kind, enchanting, healthy, lovely, clean, witty person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.