What is the definition of Safety in American Football?

The concept of a safety in football carries a dual meaning: it denotes both a scoring play and a defensive position. As a scoring play, a safety awards two points to the scoring team and typically occurs when a ball carrier is tackled in their own end zone or when the offense commits a foul within their end zone. Although a rare occurrence, safeties add an interesting and strategic dimension to the game of football.

Safeties are present in various forms of gridiron football, including American football, NFL, college football, and Canadian football. In each format, the safety play helps shape the game’s outcomes and keeps spectators on the edge of their seats. The defensive position known as a safety, on the other hand, usually serves to provide the last line of defense against big plays.

Key Takeaways

  • A safety in football refers to both a rare scoring play and a defensive position
  • Safeties award two points and can happen in various gridiron football formats
  • The defensive safety position helps prevent big plays from the opposing team

Basic Concept of Safety in Football

Safety Points System

In football, a safety is a scoring play where the defense tackles the ball carrier or the quarterback, or forces a penalty in the offense’s own end zone, resulting in two points for the defensive team. Additionally, in exceptionally rare instances, a one-point safety can be scored during an extra point or two-point conversion attempt if the defense forces a similar event in their own end zone.

Safety Position and Responsibilities

The safety position is a crucial role in the defensive backfield, serving as the last line of defense against big plays from the opposing team. Safeties are defensive backs who generally line up ten to fifteen yards from the line of scrimmage. There are two variations of the safety position: free safety and strong safety. Their duties and responsibilities depend on the defensive scheme being employed by the team.

Free safety is typically responsible for pass coverage, using their speed and instincts to assist cornerbacks in covering receivers downfield. These players excel in reading the quarterback’s eyes and anticipating where the ball will be thrown. Their main responsibilities include deep coverage, providing help over the top on passing plays, and occasionally providing run support.

Strong safety is a more physically demanding position, requiring strength, toughness, and tackling skills. These players are often responsible for covering tight ends, fullbacks, and occasionally wide receivers. Common duties for strong safeties include playing closer to the line of scrimmage to support the run defense, and providing man coverage or zone coverage on passing plays.

Both free and strong safeties need excellent communication skills to ensure that all members of the defensive backfield are on the same page for each play. They must also possess exceptional vision and awareness to recognize and react to plays as they develop. In some defensive schemes, safeties may take on hybrid roles, displaying versatility in their responsibilities.

Overall, safeties are integral to the success of a football team’s defense. Their ability to limit big plays, make crucial tackles, and provide stout coverage in the passing game can often be the difference between victory and defeat.