1 a score in American football; being in possession of the ball across the opponents' goal line
2 a landing (as the wheels touch the landing field); especially of airplanes
- a six-point score in American
football, analogous to a try in rugby.
- Today I scored my first touchdown.
- The point at which an aircraft makes contact with the ground during a landing.
DescriptionTo 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 receiver catches 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 fumble or an interception and return it to the opposing end zone. Special teams can also score a touchdown on a kickoff or punt return, or on a return after a missed field goal attempt.
A touchdown is worth 6 points. The scoring team is also awarded the opportunity for an extra point or a two-point conversion.
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 perpendicular to 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 catch the 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).
In 1881, the rules were modified so that a goal kicked from a touchdown took precedence over a goal kicked from the field in breaking ties.
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