What Is a Safety In Football?

Football is one of the most loved and popular games in the US. Football fans are so enthusiastic about the game that they just can’t wait for the football season to begin. Now if you also are an ardent fan of the football game, and have recently joined your college football team, you may not know some terms. The football lingo contains several homonyms that make it hard for a common person to learn the football game. One such term is ‘football safety.’

In American football, the defensive team gets two points with a scoring play of safety. It is also a position group on the ball’s defense, consisting of strong safety and free safety. They are also defensive backs that play a critical role in pass-defense. Although safeties are not a common way to score points, it plays a vital role in stopping the pass and run.

Safety in Football: Here is what you need to know

safety football definition

Football safety is when a team player ends up doing a blunder in his end zone like fumbling the ball. When safety occurs, the opposing team scores two points. Safety is funny in a way because only during safety the opponent or the defensive team gets points without having the ball on their side. When a safety occurs, the offense team has to punt the ball to the opponent team in a kick-off.

In other words, when the offensive player has the football and he willingly or accidentally downs the ball in his own territory, it is said that safety has occurred. The defensive team earns two points and gets the ball too for the next football action.

Why Do Safeties Happen in Football?

According to the safety football definition, football safety is announced when the offense commits a foul in their end zone or if due to momentum, he throws the ball towards his goal line. Safety also happens when an offensive player ends up in some kind of penalty shot or position, as a result of which the ball stays on their side or end zone.

How to Score a Safety?

While running into the opposing team’s zone, many teams are confused about punting it or going for it. Many teams opt to punt, hoping that they may pin the opposing players into their territory. This can be beneficial. If they succeed in punting inside the opposite team’s 5-yard line, they can get a safety.

The defense can get safety points in two ways:

  1. Tackling the person in the end zone or pushing him out of the end zone

When an offensive player possessing the ball enters the end zone, they must take it out of the end zone to avoid a safety. If half of the ball tackled the player in the end zone, it is called a football safety. It is a common safety position when the defense pins the offense inside their territory, and the defense aggressively tries to score a safety. The offense attempts to throw the football on the early downs to get out of their end zone.

  1. The ball fumbles out of the end zone.

For instance, if a team has the football on their 1-yard line, they must punt. The distance between the long snapper and the punter will be short due to the smaller field. The long snapper will either snap the ball over the punter’s head or snap it low. If he snaps the ball out of the end zone or if it goes out of the offensive team’s end zone, it results in a football safety.

The referee folds his hands in the air to signal safety. This means that the ball has to go back to the opposing football team, and two points are added to the scoreboard.

How Do You Score a One-Point Safety in Football?

One-point safety benefits the offensive team rather than the defense. It happens when the defense team possesses the ball during a two-point or extra-point conversion attempt. If that occurs, the offense tackles the defense in their end zone. Since both the teams switch their roles when the defense possesses the ball, the offense is given safety to tackle the defense in the end zone. Hence, the offensive football team gets one point and kicks off the ball on the next play.

How Do Offenses Avoid Safeties?

When the offensive team has its back against a wall or near their end zone, they have several options to avoid safety:

  • The first option is to give up the drive and punt away the ball. Most football teams use this option when it is 4th down, but they can use it before that if required.
  • The second option is to use a low-risk play and inch forward. Doing this will give you enough space to comfortably punt the football.

Under such a situation, if the team chooses to run the ball, the quarterback has to go back into the end zone to throw the ball to the wide receivers. To avoid safeties, the proper technique is to stay out of your end zone and move the ball down the football field. Practical and smart play-calling is required to solve it.

What is the Difference Between Strong Safety and Free Safety?

There are two types of safeties on the defense in a football game: strong safety and free safety.

Strong safeties are more about the running game. The offensive lineman has to cover the receivers along with a strong force on the running play. On the strong formation side, the strong safety position often includes the middle of the football field. Typically, defenders stay near the scrimmage line and try to put a halt to the run while guarding the passing plays.

On the other hand, free safety is the last line of defense for football teams. A pass-minded defender sits back, surveys, and attacks where it is required. According to the situation, he may also fill on the running plays since he is the only person who remains unblocked.


Scoring a football safety is challenging in American football, but it can happen if the offensive team backs up in its end zone. When this happens, they tend to throw the ball deeper to get out of their zone. You must have seen school football players getting aggressive when the offense goes inside their 5-yard line. Many players also get football injuries during such attempts.

Therefore, it is crucial to keep learning. This guide is packed with safety football definition, proper technique, scheme, and more details.