Rule 11 Section 5
SECTION 5 - SAFETY
ARTICLE 1. SAFETY
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.
It is not a safety:
- If a forward pass from behind the line of scrimmage is incomplete in the end zone.
- If a defensive player, in the field of play, intercepts a pass or catches or recovers a fumble, backward pass, scrimmage kick, free kick, or fair catch kick, and his original momentum carries him into his end zone where the ball is declared dead in his team’s possession. The ball belongs to the defensive team at the spot where the player’s foot or other body part touched the ground to establish possession. If that spot is in the end zone, the result of the play is a touchback, even if the ball is not on, above, or beyond the goal line. (11-6-1)
- If a player of the team which intercepts, catches, or recovers the ball commits a live-ball foul in the end zone, it is a safety.
- If a player who intercepts, catches, or recovers the ball throws a completed illegal forward pass from the end zone, the ball remains alive. If his opponent intercepts the illegal pass thrown from the end zone, the ball remains alive. If he scores, it is a touchdown.
- If a player of the team which intercepts, catches, or recovers the ball commits a foul in the field of play, and the ball becomes dead in the end zone, the basic spot is the spot of the change of possession.
- If the spot where possession changed is inside the one-yard line, the ball is to be spotted at the one-yard line.
- A ball in the end zone which is carried toward the field of play is still in the end zone until the entire ball is in the field of play (3-12-4).
- The impetus is always attributed to the offense, unless the defense creates a new force that sends the ball behind its own goal line by muffing a ball which is at rest or nearly at rest, or by batting or kicking any loose ball (3-17).
ARTICLE 2. BALL IN PLAY AFTER SAFETY
After a safety, the team scored upon must put the ball in play by a free kick (punt, dropkick, or placekick) from its 20-yard line. An artificial or manufactured tee cannot be used. See 6-1-1-b and 6-1-3.
Exception: For extension of either half, see 4-8-2-g.