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Football 101: The one-point safety

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New York Jets v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Touchdowns are six points.

Field goals are three points.

Conversions are two points.

Safeties are two points.

Point after attempts are one points.

And then there is the one-point safety.

Tommy boi (@Terrifictom32) asked me about the one-point safety and if it is possible in the NFL, and if it is highly unlikely. Well, the answer to both is yes. There is a one-point safety, and it is highly unlikely.

As in, it has never happened in the NFL, unlikely.

What is the one-point safety? Funny enough, SB Nation actually produced a video on the one-point safety back in September:

The one-point safety has always been a possibility, albeit nearly impossible. A team making an extra-point attempt would have had to botch the play so badly, they would end up in their own endzone, 98-yards away, and then get tackled in the endzone. Because that play was on an extra-point attempt (or a two-point conversion attempt), only one point would be awarded - thus the one-point safety.

Technically, it also could have been awarded if the offensive team fumbled the ball into the endzone, and the defense illegally batted the ball out of bounds, giving the offense a one-point safety.

In 2015, the NFL changed a rule that could make the one-point safety something we will eventually see. Prior to that change, if at any time on an extra-point/two-point conversion attempt the defense took possession of the ball, the play was immediately ruled dead. After that rule change, however, the defense can now take possession of the ball and attempt to run it down the field to score for themselves.

How does that impact the likelihood of a one-point safety? Now, the defense could, theoretically, take possession of the ball, attempt to avoid a tackle and run back into their down endzone, then get tackled. Now, the offensive team would be awarded the one-point safety.

As for where it specifies the one-point safety in the NFL rulebook, it falls under Rule 11, Section 3, Article 2 (c), “If the try results in what would ordinarily be a safety against either team, one point is awarded to the opponent.”

If you have not watched the video above, make sure you check it out - it shows an example of a one-point safety happening in college football.

(To answer the follow-on question, the team attempting the point after still kicks off, even if they are on the scoring end of the one-point safety.)

It is not a likely scoring play, but it is one that is on the books and will be something everyone is discussing if it ever does happen.