Safety (gridiron football score)

Buffalo Bills quarterback J. P. Losman is tackled by New England Patriots defensive lineman Ty Warren. Because Losman was tackled behind his own goal line, this play resulted in a safety for New England.

In gridiron football, the safety (American football) or safety touch (Canadian football) is a scoring play that results in two points being awarded to the scoring team. Safeties can be scored in a number of ways, such as when a ball carrier is tackled in his own end zone or when a foul is committed by the offense in their own end zone. After a safety is scored in American football, the ball is kicked off to the team that scored the safety from the 20-yard line; in Canadian football, the scoring team also has the options of taking control of the ball at their own 35-yard line or kicking off the ball, also at their own 35-yard line. The ability of the scoring team to receive the ball through a kickoff differs from the touchdown and field goal, which require the scoring team to kick the ball off to the scored upon team.[1] Despite being of relatively low point value, safeties can have a significant impact on the result of games,[2] and Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats estimated that safeties have a greater abstract value than field goals, despite being worth a point less, due to the field position and reclaimed possession gained off the safety kick.[1]

Safeties are the least common method of scoring in American football[3] but are not rare occurrences[2] – since 1932, a safety has occurred once every 14.31 games in the National Football League (NFL), or about once a week under current scheduling rules.[2] A much rarer occurrence is the one-point safety, which can be scored by the offense on an extra point or two-point conversion attempt; those have occurred at least twice in NCAA Division I football since 1996, most recently at the 2013 Fiesta Bowl. No conversion safeties have occurred since at least 1940 in the NFL. A conversion safety by the defense is also possible, though highly unlikely; although this has never occurred, it is the only possible way a team could finish with a single point in an American football game.[A]

  1. ^ a b Burke, Brian (September 22, 2008). "What's a Safety Really Worth?". Advanced NFL Stats. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Belson, Ken (December 8, 2011). "All That Work for 2 Points". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 31, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  3. ^ Romer, David (April 2006). "Do Firms Maximize? Evidence from Professional Football" (PDF). Journal of Political Economy. 114 (2): 340–365. doi:10.1086/501171. S2CID 9940053. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2012.


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