A play in which an offensive player is tackled or forced out of bounds in their own end zone. The defensive team receives two points for a safety, and the offensive team must kick the ball back to the defense from their own twenty. A safety also occurs if the offense is flagged for a holding penalty or an intentional grounding penalty in their own end zone. Safeties are rare, but can be devastating penalties due to the fact that the team that scored immediately gets the ball back in good field position.
A safety is a rare play because the offense has to be backed up deep in their own territory for the opportunity to arise. Defensive players will attempt to race into the backfield in order to tackle the offensive player before he can get out of the end zone. For a safety to be counted, the tackle must be made with the ball still in the end zone. If the ball gets across the goal line, it is not a safety. A safety is unique because it is the only score where the team that scored immediately gets to take possession of the ball again. When the team kicks off after a safety, it is considered a "free kick" and may be punted or kicked off of a tee.