touch·​back | \ ˈtəch-ˌbak How to pronounce touchback (audio) \

Definition of touchback

: a situation in football in which the ball is down behind the goal line after a kick or intercepted forward pass after which it is put in play by the team defending the goal on its own 20-yard line — compare safety

Examples of touchback in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Without any timeouts, Couch took over from his 20 after a touchback and threw 11 straight times, completing eight. Rich Exner,, "Cleveland Browns thrilling 2002 OT win over Tennessee Titans: Browns flashback," 3 Sep. 2019 Last year, when Badgley took over near midseason for a struggling Caleb Sturgis, only nine of his 54 kickoffs went for touchbacks. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, "Chargers’ Michael Badgley is on a quest for ‘perfect swing’ and longer kickoffs," 14 Aug. 2019 By rule, that meant the Panthers took possession of the football with a touchback with 1:44 left. Mark Maske,, "Saints are marching home and don't have to go anywhere else until Super Bowl," 18 Dec. 2018 One rule change was moving touchbacks to the 25-yard line, which would give teams more reason not to bring the ball out when kicked into the end zone. Scooby Axson,, "NFL Not Eliminating Kickoffs This Season," 1 May 2018 In 2011, the NFL moved the spot of the kickoff forward from the 30-yard line to the 35, drastically increasing the number of kickoffs that cross into the end zone for touchbacks. Dan Gartland,, "Packers President Warns NFL Could Eliminate Kickoffs," 28 Mar. 2018 Punter Dane Roy led the league with 25 punts inside the 20-yard line with only five touchbacks in 58 attempts. Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle, "Houston names James Casey special teams coach," 31 Jan. 2018 It that’s also when the starting point on touchbacks was moved up from the 20-yard line to the 25. Matt Murschel,, "Coaches, football leaders grapple with ways to make kickoff returns safer for players," 27 May 2018 Reichard averaged 38 yards per punt last year while also going 1-for-1 on field goals, 17-for-17 on PATs and booming more than 40 kickoffs for touchbacks. Josh Bean,, "Birmingham recruiting roundup: UAB gets commits from Thompson, Homewood," 5 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'touchback.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of touchback

1884, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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The first known use of touchback was in 1884

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English Language Learners Definition of touchback

American football : a situation in which the ball is put out of play behind the goal line after a kick or interception

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concealment of treason or felony

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