What Is Touchback in Football? (Full Explanation)

What is touchback in football? The majority of football fans are very proud of their in-depth understanding of the game. Therefore, they can quickly define a touchback. However, these same supporters would struggle greatly if you asked them to name every possible circumstance that could lead to a touchback. This is due to the touchback’s versatility, despite its seeming simplicity.

What is touchback in football?

It occurs when the officials signal the end of the play following a kick after the ball has passed into the end zone of the opposing team’s defense. When the game resumes, the club begins its offensive drive from its own 25-yard line. A touchback is not rewarded with any points.

A player who receives a kick in the end zone but decides not to return the ball will also result in a touchback. The receiver must get down on one knee if they don’t want to run back the reception. The refs will know you want a touchback if you get down on one knee.

The ball leaves the field through a team’s end zone on the previous play. Then, a touchback is the automatic start of an offensive drive at the 25-yard line. Functionally, touchback happens because it is impossible to notice a ball that has either crossed the end zone or left the field of play. Touchbacks are often the responsibility of special teams units because they usually happen during kicking plays.

How do touchbacks happen in football?

Already answering what is touchback in football, here comes the methods for a touchback to occur. 

Touchback on kickoffs or punts

On kickoffs or punts, it occurs most frequently. By kneeling or by allowing the ball to cross the goal line, the receiving player can cause a touchback.

As a result, kick returners occasionally let the ball land and bounce toward the goal line of the receiving team. The idea behind this is to attempt to force a touchback. Therefore, you can begin the game inside your 25-yard line rather than much inside your own territory.

Though it frequently succeeds, doing so allows the kicking team time to advance and may force the receiving team deep into their half of the field.

A touchback appears if a kicker from the kicking team makes contact with the ball when they are in the end zone.

Touchback for non-kicks

In football, a turnover can result in a touchback. This occurs if the offensive team is moving downfield and attempting to score when the ball is lost in the opponent’s end zone.

There are three possible outcomes for this.

A defender in the quarterback’s own end zone successfully intercepts the quarterback’s first pass. Then, to indicate that he wants a touchback, the defender would kneel. At that point, the play will be over.

The second occurs when the offense fumbles the ball into the end zone, which is recovered by a defender. The play shall be deemed dead. And a touchback will occur if the recovery takes place on the ground or if the defender kneels.

Third, the offensive team fumbles the ball through the end zone or out of bounds after it has crossed the goal line. This will occur if a fumble happens and neither team properly recovers it before it leaves the end zone or goes out of bounds there.

NFL touchback rules

The receiving team starts to play from their 20-yard line after a touchback occurs. And it’s when the football is free-kicked into the EZ and either is not advanced, either by the receiving team taking a knee to “down” the football or touching the ground in the end zone.

Only American football is subject to the touchback rule. And the NFL rule book’s Article 5 describes the several ways a free kick can cross the goal line:

  • the ball touches the ground in the end zone without being touched by the receiving team.
  • leaves the field of play behind the goal line of the receiving team.
  • hits the crossbar, uprights, or goalpost of the opposing team.
  • is taken down by the receiving team in the EZ.

What’s the result?

Regardless of how the touchback occurs, the outcome is always the same. The side that recovered the turnover, or the team that returned the ball, will take control. On a first-and-10, that team’s offense will take over after the referee places the ball on its own 25-yard line.

The 25-yard line serves as the deciding factor in a touchback’s success or failure in this situation. It will be advantageous for the return team if, for instance, a return was not anticipated to gain more than 25 yards. It would be advantageous for the kicking team if they could have gained more.

A touchback happens when a ball lands in a team’s end zone following a kicking play. If you would like to find more useful posts on American football, we highly recommend the website Footballterms, which is most famous for a lot of the latest news.

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