A touchdown is the primary method of scoring in American and
To score a touchdown, one team must take the football into the opposite
end zone. This can be done by rushing, in which the ball carrier carries the football forward into the end zone. It can also be done by passing, where an eligible receivercatches a forward pass in the end zone. The receiver can also catch the ball prior to reaching the end zone and carry it across the plane of the end zone. This would still be considered a "passing" touchdown as opposed to a "rushing" touchdown.
Touchdowns are usually scored by the offense. However, the defense can also score a touchdown if they have recovered a
fumbleor an interceptionand return it to the opposing end zone. Special teamscan score a touchdown on a kickoffor punt return, or on a return after a missed field goal attempt. In the NFL, a touchdown may be awarded by the referee as a penalty for a "Palpably Unfair Act". [http://www.nfl.com/rulebook/penaltysummaries]
A touchdown is worth six points. The scoring team is also awarded the opportunity for an
extra pointor a two-point conversion.cite web|url=http://www.ncaa.org/library/rules/2006/2006_football_rules.pdf|type=pdf|title=2006 NCAA Football Rules and Interpretations|publisher=National Collegiate Athletics Association|year=2006]
tryscored in rugby unionor rugby league, the ball does not need to touch the ground when the player and the ball is inside the end zone.
When the touchdown was introduced into American football in 1876, it did not award a score; instead, it only allowed the offense the chance to kick for goal by placekick from a spot along a line
perpendicularto the goal line and passing through the point where the ball was touched down, or through a process known as a "punt-out", where the attacking team would kick the ball from the point where it was touched down to a teammate. If the teammate could fair catchthe ball, he could follow with a try for goal from the spot of the catch, or resume play as normal (in an attempt to touchdown the ball in a spot more advantageous for kicking). cite book |last=Nelson |first=David M. |title=The Anatomy of A Game |year=1994 |publisher=University of Delaware Press |location=Newark, NJ |isbn=0-87413-455-2 ]
In 1882, four touchdowns were determined to take precedence over a goal kicked from the field. Two safeties were equivalent to a touchdown.
In 1912, the value of a touchdown was increased to 6 points. The
end zonewas also added. Before the addition of the end zone, forward passes caught beyond the goal line resulted in a loss of possession and a touchback. (The increase from 5 points to 6 did not come until much later in Canada, and the touchdown remained only 5 points there until 1956.)
The ability to score a touchdown on the point-after attempt (two-point conversion) was added to NCAA football in 1958, high school football in 1969, and the NFL in 1994. cite web|url=http://www.nfl.com/history/chronology/1991-2000#1994|title=NFL History 1991-2000|publisher=NFL.com]
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