Touchdown (sport)

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A touchdown in American football

In American football, touchdown describes a win of six points by carrying the ball into the opponent's end zone or throwing it and catching it. One or two additional points can then be achieved in an additional attempt .

In rugby, however, the corresponding dot gain is an attempt (English try ), and the term touchdown called the "kill" the ball in his own in-goal.

American football

In American football, the touchdown is the most valuable way of scoring points. He counts, scored from the normal course of the game, six points. Other ways of scoring points are the field goal (three points), the safety (two points), the extra point after a touchdown - Point after Touchdown (PAT) - (one point) or the two-point conversion after the touchdown (two points ).

A touchdown is scored when a team carries the ball into the opposing end zone , or when it is caught or captured there. According to today's rules, it is not necessary that the ball actually be brought to the ground, as the name touchdown actually suggests. Originally, American football was a pure running game without the ball being allowed to be thrown , and until 1889 the ball had to be brought to the ground on or behind the goal line.

If the ball is carried, it is sufficient that part of the ball reaches the end zone, i.e. at least the goal line (the line that separates the field from the end zone). The goal line can be seen as an imaginary wall so that there is no need to touch the ground. It is sufficient that the ball penetrates at least with its tip into the "air space" above the goal line, the attacking player himself does not have to reach the end zone. According to the rules, the ball must not be dead at the time of the touchdown, i.e. the ball carrier must not be outside the playing field or on the ground at that moment. According to the rules of the National Football League (NFL), however, it is possible to score a touchdown while lying on the ground if the player has not previously been tackled or touched by the opponent.

If the ball is caught in the opponent's end zone after a forward pass , the player must gain control of the ball (i.e. hold the ball securely) as long as he is in the end zone himself. It does not matter whether the recipient or the ball is in the air space of the end zone. In the NFL, the player must hit the floor of the end zone with both legs or one knee before the touchdown is valid. In other leagues, e.g. B. in college football or the German Football League , it is sufficient if the player brings one leg into the end zone before he is out-of-bounds with another part of the body (i.e. out of bounds ).

The third way to get a touchdown is to capture a free ball in the opponent's end zone. This can e.g. B. by conquering a fumble or a muff or by intercepting an opposing back pass. The same rules apply as when carrying the ball into the end zone: The ball must be in the airspace of the end zone in the possession of an offense player .

Try (extra attempt)

After scoring a touchdown, the extra point in the NFL is played by the defending team's fifteen- yard line (originally two-yard line, from which the two-point conversion is still played) to give the winning team a chance to give to increase the rating. In college football , both variants are played from the three-yard line.

In the point after touchdown (PAT), the offense tries to achieve a field goal , which brings an additional point. The distance was increased in the National Football League (NFL) for the 2015 season to make the automatic point increase more difficult and thus to make the game more attractive.

If the offense succeeds in a regular passing or running game as part of the try, another touchdown is counted for two more points. In this case, it is a two-point conversion . The defense also has the opportunity to score points during a try. If you manage to capture the ball and score a touchdown on your part, this will also be rewarded with two points.


In the NFL, wide receiver Jerry Rice was the only player in his career to have over 200 touchdowns .


At Rugby the appropriate touchdown classification will attempt (English try ) called. To do this, the ball must be placed in the in-goal. Depending on the sport, an attempt counts four ( rugby league ) or five points ( rugby union ). With a subsequent additional kick (increase, conversion ), two more points can be achieved.

The term "touchdown" in rugby union means, however, placing the ball in one's own in-goal in order to deprive the opponent of the opportunity to attempt (the so-called killing). If the ball got there by an action by the attacking team, the defending team may kick the ball from its own 22-meter line. However, if they brought the ball into the in-goal themselves, there is a scrum on the 5-meter line with scrum throw-in for the attacking team.

Individual evidence

  1. Kevin Patra: NFL moves extra point to 15-yard line for 2015 season. In: NFL, May 19, 2015, accessed October 4, 2015 .
  2. Rogers Redding and Ty Halpin: NCAA Football 2013 and 2014. (pdf) Rules and Interpretations. In: NCAA, July 2014, p. 216 , accessed on November 13, 2014 (English, Rule 8, Section 1, Article 1 and Rule 8, Section 3, Article 2 d) 1.): “Successful Try: Touchdown - 2 Points; The try ends when: 1. Either team scores. "