Games at all levels of play are can be decided by a fumble in football. Turnovers give the team that ends up with the ball a decided advantage. Significant practice time is devoted to both protecting the ball while on offense and stripping the ball while on defense. Let’s learn a bit more about fumbles.
What is a fumble in football?
The definition of a fumble is a play in football where the ball carrier loses control of the ball before the conclusion of the play. Fumbles can be recovered by either team and can be advanced once recovered.
- Fumbles are most common among quarterbacks, but running backs and wide receivers will also give up the ball.
- Fumbles can be recovered by any of the 22 players on the field.
- If a player fumbles the ball out of bounds, the ball will be placed at the spot where the player loses control.
- Defensive recoveries of a fumble are considered a turnover and can be advanced by the recovering team in an attempt to score a defensive touchdown.
A fumble occurs whenever a player loses possession of the ball after having clear possession of the ball. Once the ball is loose, both teams have the chance to recover it. A backward or sideways pass that isn’t completed is also considered to be a fumble.
What isn’t a fumble?
A fumble cannot happen in situations of an incomplete forward pass. Quarterbacks making a forward motion to pass with control of the ball before it is knocked out of their hand is not considered a fumble.
How often do fumbles happen?
Fumbles occur on 1.67% of all run and pass plays. They are more common on pass plays (2.04%) than run plays (1.16%). Fumbles are a common way of turning the ball over, as it happens in most games.
Who had the most fumbles in an NFL game?
Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson had seven fumbles in a game against the Chargers on November 15, 1964.
How to recover a fumble?
Due to the awkward shape of a football, recovering a fumble is more difficult than it looks. The safest way to recover a fumble is to ‘fall’ on the ball, allowing the player attempting to recover it to grab a firm grip and safely secure the ball near the player’s body. The less effective way is to recover it while still upright, allowing the recovering player to advance the ball, and giving the other team a greater opportunity to win the ball.
How to recover a fumble video
Can you kick a fumbled football?
Players are not allowed to deliberately kick the football. Doing so would result in a 10-yard penalty for “illegally kicking the ball.” In situations of incidental contact, the officials may let it slide.
What happens if you fumble into the end zone?
If the player with the ball fumbles the ball into the end zone they are attempting to score in, the offensive team can recover it and still score a touchdown. If the ball goes out of bounds, then the defense would get a touchback. If the fumble happens inside their end zone, the offensive team can still recover it, but if it goes out of bounds in the end zone, the defensive team will get a safety.
Who has fumbled the most in NFL history?
Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre leads NFL history with 166 fumbles throughout his 19-year career. Warren Moon ranks second with 161, and Dave Krieg comes in third with 153 fumbles.
More recent quarterbacks include Tom Brady and Eli Manning in the top 10, while Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger rank in the top 20. In 2019, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones led the NFL with 18 fumbles.
You’re on our Fumble in Football page.
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