End zone

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A player rushes into the red-painted end zone, scoring a touchdown during a college football game. 120107-LA-USC-UCLA05-TDMcKnight.jpg
A player rushes into the red-painted end zone, scoring a touchdown during a college football game.

The end zone is the scoring area on the field, according to gridiron-based codes of football. It is the area between the end line and goal line bounded by the sidelines. There are two end zones, each being on an opposite side of the field. It is bordered on all sides by a white line indicating its beginning and end points, with orange, square pylons placed at each of the four corners as a visual aid (however, prior to around the early 1970s, flags were used instead to denote the end zone). Canadian rule books use the terms goal area and dead line instead of end zone and end line respectively, but the latter terms are the more common in colloquial Canadian English. Unlike sports like association football and ice hockey which require the ball/puck to pass completely over the goal line to count as a score, both Canadian and American football merely need any part of the ball to break the vertical plane of the outer edge of the goal line.

Contents

A similar concept exists in both rugby football codes, where it is known as the in-goal area. The difference between rugby and gridiron-based codes is that in rugby, the ball must be touched to the ground in the in-goal area to count as a try (the rugby equivalent of a touchdown), whereas in the gridiron-based games, simply possessing the ball in or over the end zone is sufficient to count as a touchdown.

Ultimate frisbee also uses an end zone scoring area. Scores in this sport are counted when a pass is received in the end zone.

History

The end zones were invented as a result of the legalization of the forward pass in gridiron football. Prior to this, the goal line and end line were the same, and players scored a touchdown by leaving the field of play through that line. Goal posts were placed on the goal line, and any kicks that did not result in field goals but left the field through the end lines were simply recorded as touchbacks (or, in the Canadian game, singles; it was during the pre-end zone era that Hugh Gall set the record for most singles in a game, with eight).

In the earliest days of the forward pass, the pass had to be caught in-bounds and could not be thrown across the goal line (as the receiver would be out of bounds). This also made it difficult to pass the ball when very close to one's own goal line, since merely dropping back to pass or kick would result in a safety (rules of the forward pass at the time required the passer to be five yards behind the line of scrimmage, which would make throwing the forward pass when the ball was snapped from behind one's own five-yard line illegal in itself).

Thus, in 1912, the end zone was introduced in American football. In an era when professional football was still in its early years and college football dominated the game, the resulting enlargement of the field was constrained by fact that many college teams were already playing in well-developed stadiums, complete with stands and other structures at the ends of the fields, thereby making any substantial enlargement of the field unfeasible at many schools. Eventually, a compromise was reached: 12 yards of end zone were added to each end of the field, but in return, the playing field was shortened from 110 yards to 100, resulting in the physical size of the field being only slightly longer than before. Goal posts were originally kept on the goal lines, but after they began to interfere with play, they moved back to the end lines in 1927, where they have remained in college football ever since. The National Football League moved the goal posts up to the goal line again in 1933, then back again to the end line in 1974.

A Canadian football field, with 20-yard deep end zone and goal post on the goal line CFL Western Final 2007 (2197332902).jpg
A Canadian football field, with 20-yard deep end zone and goal post on the goal line

As with many other aspects of gridiron football, Canadian football adopted the forward pass and end zones much later than American football. The forward pass and end zones were adopted in 1929. In Canada, college football has never reached a level of prominence comparable to U.S. college football, and professional football was still in its infancy in the 1920s. As a result, Canadian football was still being played in rudimentary facilities in the late 1920s. A further consideration was that the Canadian Rugby Union (the governing body of Canadian football at the time, now known as Football Canada) wanted to reduce the prominence of single points (then called rouges) in the game. Therefore, the CRU simply appended 25-yard end zones to the ends of the existing 110-yard field, creating a much larger field of play. Since moving the goal posts back 25 yards would have made the scoring of field goals excessively difficult, and since the CRU did not want to reduce the prominence of field goals, the goal posts were left on the goal line where they remain today. However, the rules governing the scoring of singles were changed: teams were required to either kick the ball out of bounds through the end zone or force the opposition to down a kicked ball in their own end zone in order to be awarded a point. By 1986, at which point CFL stadiums were becoming bigger and comparable in development to their American counterparts in an effort to stay financially competitive, the CFL reduced the depth of the end zone to 20 yards.

Scoring

A team scores a touchdown by entering its opponent's end zone while carrying the ball or catching the ball while being within the end zone. If the ball is carried by a player, it is considered a score when any part of the ball is directly above or beyond any part of the goal line between the pylons. [1] In addition, a two-point conversion may be scored after a touchdown by similar means.

In Ultimate Frisbee, a goal is scored by completing a pass into the end zone. [2]

Size

A player kneeling next to one of the pylons marking a corner of the end zone James Jones Lambeau Field.jpg
A player kneeling next to one of the pylons marking a corner of the end zone

The end zone in American football is 10 yards long by 53 13 yards (160 feet) wide. Each corner is marked with a pylon (four apiece).

A full-sized end zone in Canadian football is 20 yards long by 65 yards wide. Prior to the 1980s, the Canadian end zone was 25 yards long. The first stadium to use the 20 yard long end zone was B.C. Place in Vancouver, which was completed in 1983. The floor of B.C. Place was (and is) too short to accommodate a field 160 yards in length. The shorter end zone proved popular enough that the CFL adopted it league-wide in 1986. [3] At BMO Field, home to the Toronto Argonauts, the end zones are only 18 yards. Like their American counterparts, Canadian endzones are marked with four pylons.

In Canadian football stadiums that also feature a running track, it is usually necessary to truncate the back corners of the end zones, since a rectangular field 150 yards long and 65 yards wide will not fit completely inside an oval-shaped running track. Such truncations are marked as straight diagonal lines, resulting in an end zone with six corners and six pylons. As of 2019, Montreal's Percival Molson Stadium is the only CFL stadium that has the rounded-off end zones.

During the CFL's American expansion in the mid-1990s, several stadiums, by necessity, used 15-yard end zones (some had end zones that were even shorter than 15 yards); only Baltimore and San Antonio had the endzones at the standard 20 yards.

Ultimate Frisbee uses an end zone 40 yards wide and 20 yards deep (37 m × 18 m). [4]

The goal post

Goal post at one end of a college football field Angelo State vs. Texas A&M-Commerce football 2015 22 (A&M-Commerce field goal).jpg
Goal post at one end of a college football field

The location and dimensions of a goal post differ from league to league, but it is usually within the boundaries of the end zone. In earlier football games (both professional and collegiate), the goal post began at the goal line, and was usually an H-shaped bar. Nowadays, for player safety reasons, almost all goal posts in the professional and collegiate levels of American football are T-shaped (resembling a slingshot), and reside just outside the rear of both end zones; these goalposts were first seen in 1966 and were invented by Jim Trimble and Joel Rottman in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. [5]

The goal posts in Canadian football still reside on the goal line instead of the back of the end zones, partly because the number of field goal attempts would dramatically decrease if the posts were moved 20 yards back in that sport, and also because the larger end zone and wider field makes the resulting interference in play by the goal post a less serious problem.[ citation needed ]

At the high school level, it is not uncommon to see multi-purpose goal posts that include football goal posts at the top and a soccer net at the bottom; these are usually seen at smaller schools and in multi-purpose stadiums where facilities are used for multiple sports. When these or H-shaped goal posts are used in football, the lower portions of the posts are covered with several inches of heavy foam padding to protect the safety of the players. [6]

Decoration

An XFL field, including end zone featuring the league's logo XflNight.JPG
An XFL field, including end zone featuring the league's logo

Most professional and collegiate teams have their logo, team name, or both painted on the surface of the end zone, with team colors filling the background. Many championship and bowl games at college and professional level are commemorated by the names of the opposing teams each being painted in one of the opposite end zones. In some leagues, along with bowl games, local, national, or bowl game sponsors may also have their logos placed in the end zone. In the CFL, fully painted end zones are nonexistent, though some feature club logos or sponsors. Additionally, the Canadian end zone, being a live-ball part of the field, often features yardage dashes (usually marked every five yards), not unlike the field of play itself.

In many places, particularly in smaller high schools and colleges, end zones are undecorated, or have plain white diagonal stripes spaced several yards apart, in lieu of colors and decorations. One notable use of this design in major college football is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who have both end zones at Notre Dame Stadium painted with diagonal white lines. In professional football, since 2004, the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL have the south end zone at Heinz Field painted with diagonal-lines during most of the regular season. This is done because Heinz Field,which has a natural grass playing surface, is also home to the Pittsburgh Panthers of college football and the markings simplify field conversion between the two teams' respective field markings and logos. After the Panthers' season is over, the Steelers logo is painted in the south end zone. [7]

One of the major quirks of the American Football League was its use of unusual patterns such as argyle in its end zones, a tradition revived in 2009 by the Denver Broncos, itself a former AFL team. The original XFL standardized its playing fields so that all eight of its teams had uniform fields with the XFL logo in each end zone and no team identification.

See also

Related Research Articles

Canadian football Canadian team sport

Canadian football is a sport played in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play 110 yards (101 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide attempting to advance a pointed oval-shaped ball into the opposing team's scoring area.

Goal line (gridiron football)

The goal line is the chalked or painted line dividing the end zone from the field of play in gridiron football. In American football the goal lines run 10 yards (9.1 m) parallel to the end lines, while in Canadian football they run 20 yards (18 m) parallel to the dead lines. In both football codes the distance is measured from the inside edge of the end line to the far edge of the goal line so that the line itself is part of the end zone. It is the line that must be crossed in order to score a touchdown.

Touchdown Means of scoring in both American and Canadian football

A touchdown is a scoring play in gridiron football. Whether running, passing, returning a kickoff or punt, or recovering a turnover, a team scores a touchdown by advancing the ball into the opponent's end zone.

Gridiron football Sport primarily played in the United States and Canada

Gridiron football, also known as North American football or, in North America, simply football, is a family of football team sports primarily played in the United States and Canada. American football, which uses 11-player teams, is the form played in the United States and the best known form of gridiron football worldwide, while Canadian football, featuring 12-player teams, predominates in Canada. Other derivative varieties include indoor football and Arena football, football for smaller teams, and informal games such as touch and flag football. Football is played at professional, collegiate, high school, semi-professional, and amateur levels.

In American football, a touchback is a ruling which is made and signaled by an official when the ball becomes dead on or behind a team's own goal line and the opposing team gave the ball the momentum, or impetus, to travel over or across the goal line. Since the 2018 season, touchbacks have also been awarded in college football on kickoffs that end in a fair catch by the receiving team between its own 25-yard line and goal line. Such impetus may be imparted by a kick, pass, fumble, or in certain instances by batting the ball. A touchback is not a play, but a result of events that may occur during a play. A touchback is the opposite of a safety with regard to impetus since a safety is scored when the ball becomes dead in a team's end zone after that team — the team whose end zone it is — caused the ball to cross the goal line.

Comparison of American and Canadian football

American and Canadian football are gridiron codes of football that are very similar; both have their origins in rugby football, but some key differences exist.

In American and Canadian gridiron football, pass interference (PI) is a foul that occurs when a player interferes with an eligible receiver's ability to make a fair attempt to catch a forward pass. Pass interference may include tripping, pushing, pulling, or cutting in front of the receiver, covering the receiver's face, or pulling on the receiver's hands or arms. It does not include catching or batting the ball before it reaches the receiver. Once the ball touches any defensive player or eligible offensive receiver, the above rules no longer apply and the defender may tackle the receiver or attempt to prevent him from gaining control of the ball. Once a forward pass is in the air it is a loose ball and thus any eligible receiver – all defensive players are eligible receivers – may try to catch it. When a defensive player catches a forward pass it is an interception and his team gains possession of the ball. Some actions that are defined as pass interference may be overlooked if the defender is attempting to catch or bat the ball rather than focusing on the receiver.

Single (football)

In Canadian football, a single is a one-point score that is awarded for certain plays that involve the ball being kicked into the end zone.

Kickoff (gridiron football)

A kickoff is a method of starting a drive in gridiron football. Typically, a kickoff consists of one team – the "kicking team" – kicking the ball to the opposing team – the "receiving team". The receiving team is then entitled to return the ball, i.e., attempt to advance it towards the kicking team's end zone, until the player with the ball is tackled by the kicking team, goes out of bounds, or scores a touchdown. Kickoffs take place at the start of each half of play, the beginning of overtime in some overtime formats, and after scoring plays.

Safety (gridiron football score) Scoring play in gridiron football

In gridiron football, the safety or safety touch is a scoring play that results in two points being awarded to the scoring team. Safeties can be scored in a number of ways, such as when a ball carrier is tackled in his own end zone or when a foul is committed by the offense in their own end zone. After a safety is scored in American football, the ball is kicked off to the team that scored the safety from the 20-yard line; in Canadian football, the scoring team also has the options of taking control of the ball at their own 35-yard line or kicking off the ball, also at their own 35-yard line. The ability of the scoring team to receive the ball through a kickoff differs from the touchdown and field goal, which require the scoring team to kick the ball off to the scored upon team. Despite being of relatively low point value, safeties can have a significant impact on the result of games, and Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats estimated that safeties have a greater abstract value than field goals, despite being worth a point less, due to the field position and reclaimed possession gained off the safety kick.

Touchdown celebration

In gridiron football, touchdown celebrations are sometimes performed after the scoring of a touchdown. Individual celebrations have become increasingly complex over time, from simple "spiking" of the football in decades past to the elaborately choreographed displays of the current era.

97th Grey Cup

The 97th Grey Cup was played on November 29, 2009, at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alberta, and decided the Canadian Football League (CFL) champion for the 2009 season. The Montreal Alouettes came from behind to defeat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 28–27, on a 33-yard field goal by Damon Duval as time ran out. Duval had actually missed a first attempt, but Saskatchewan was penalized for having too many men on the field, allowing Duval a second field goal attempt.

The 64th Grey Cup was played on November 28, 1976, at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. The Ottawa Rough Riders defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 23–20 in what is considered one of the most thrilling Grey Cup games, featuring some of the most exciting plays in Grey Cup history.

78th Grey Cup

The 78th Grey Cup was the 1990 Canadian Football League championship game played between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Edmonton Eskimos at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Blue Bombers defeated the Eskimos, 50–11.

Field goal

A field goal (FG) is a means of scoring in gridiron football. To score a field goal, the team in possession of the ball must place kick, or drop kick, the ball through the goal, i.e., between the uprights and over the crossbar. American football requires that a field goal must only come during a play from scrimmage, while Canadian football retains open field kicks and thus field goals may be scored at any time from anywhere on the field and by any player. The vast majority of field goals, in both codes, are place kicked. Drop kicked field goals were common in the early days of gridiron football but are almost never done in modern times. In most leagues, a successful field goal awards three points.

American football field

The rectangular field of play used for American football games measures 100 yards (91.44 m) long between the goal lines, and 160 feet (48.8 m) wide. The field is made of grass. In addition, there are end zones extending another 10 yards (9.144 m) past the goal lines to the "end lines", for a total length of 120 yards (109.7 m). When the "football field" is used as unit of measurement, it is usually understood to mean 100 yards (91.44 m), although technically the full length of the official field, including the end zones, is 120 yards (109.7 m). There is a goal centered on each end line, with a crossbar 10 feet (3.0 m) above the ground and goalposts 18 feet 6 inches (5.64 m) apart extending at least 35 feet (11 m) above the crossbar. Between the goal lines, additional lines span the width of the field at 5-yard intervals. These lines give the football field an appearance resembling that of a gridiron, which gives rise to "gridiron" being a nickname for a football field and for the sport itself.

Two-point conversion

In gridiron football, a two-point conversion or two-point convert is a play a team attempts instead of kicking a one-point conversion immediately after it scores a touchdown. In a two-point conversion attempt, the team that just scored must run a play from scrimmage close to the opponent's goal line and advance the ball across the goal line in the same manner as if they were scoring a touchdown. If the team succeeds, it earns two additional points on top of the six points for the touchdown, for a total of eight points. If the team fails, no additional points are scored. In either case, if any time remains in the half, the team proceeds to a kickoff.

Punt (gridiron football)

In gridiron football, a punt is a kick performed by dropping the ball from the hands and then kicking the ball before it hits the ground. The most common use of this tactic is to punt the ball downfield to the opposing team, usually on the final down, with the hope of giving the receiving team a field position that is more advantageous to the kicking team when possession changes. The result of a typical punt, barring any penalties or extraordinary circumstances, is a first down for the receiving team. A punt is not to be confused with a drop kick, a kick after the ball hits the ground, now rare in both American and Canadian football.

Conversion (gridiron football)

The conversion, try, or convert occurs immediately after a touchdown during which the scoring team is allowed to attempt to score one extra point by kicking the ball through the uprights in the manner of a field goal, or two points by bringing the ball into the end zone in the manner of a touchdown.

References

  1. "NFL Rules Digest: Field". Nfl.com. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  2. "WFDF Rules of Ultimate 2013 – Introduction". wfdf.org. 2013. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  3. "FAQ about Game Rules and Regulations on CFLdb". cfldb.ca.
  4. "Playing Field". wfdf.org. 2013. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  5. "Touchdown for Canada!". En Ville. (Montreal, Quebec, Canada). March 18, 1967. p. 3.
  6. Penta, F.; Amodeo, G.; Gloria, A.; Martorelli, M.; Odenwald, S.; Lanzotti, A. Low-Velocity Impacts on a Polymeric Foam for the Passive Safety Improvement of Sports Fields: Meshless Approach and Experimental Validation. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 1174. https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071174
  7. Bouchette, Ed (October 24, 2009). "What happened to the gold-colored end zones?". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 22, 2020.