Rule 8 - Scoring
SECTION 5. Safety
Article 1 - How Scored
It is a safety when:
a. The ball becomes dead out of bounds behind a goal line, except from an incomplete forward pass, or becomes dead in the possession of a player on, above or behind his own goal line, or becomes dead by rule, and the defending team is responsible for the ball being there. (A.R. 6-3-1:IV) (A.R. 7-2-4:I) (A.R. 8-5-1:I-II, IV and VI-X) (A.R. 8-7-2:II) (A.R. 9-4-1:VIII)
When in question, it is a touchback, not a safety.
Exception: It is not a safety if a player between his/her own team’s five-yard line and goal line:
(a) intercepts a pass or fumble; or recovers an opponent’s fumble or backward pass; or catches or recovers an opponent’s kick; and
(b) his original momentum carries him into his own end zone; and
(c) the ball remains behind that team’s goal line and is declared dead in that team’s possession there. This includes a fumble that goes from the end zone into the field of play and out of bounds (Rule 7-2-4-b-1).
If conditions (a)-(c) are satisfied above, the ball belongs to this player’s team at the spot where he gained possession.
Article 2 - Kick After Safety
After a safety is scored, the ball belongs to the defending team at its own
20-yard line, and that team shall put the ball in play on or between the hash marks by a free kick that may be a punt, drop kick or place kick (Exception: Extra-period and try rules).