The exchange of the football between two offensive players. Generally it is the action between the quarterback and halfback that initiates a running play.
A handoff is initiated by the quarterback forcefully placing the football into the stomach area of another offensive player. Generally this is a very safe play, where little can go wrong. One of the most famous handoffs in league history happened at the Meadowlands Stadium in New York in a 1978 game between the New York Giants and the Phillidelphia Eagles. The Giants led 17-12 with little time left remaining. Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik attempted to hand the ball off to fullback Larry Csonka, but botched it. The fumble was picked up by Eagles defensive back Herm Edwards and run in for the winning score. This game was nicknamed the "Miracle at the Meadowlands".