What Is a 1 Point Safety In Football?

Written By: Chris Haddad
Updated: February 12, 2024

A 1 point safety is extremely rare, but it can happen. What is a 1 point safety in football?

A 1 point safety is when the team trying to score a 2-point conversion or PAT turns the ball over, the defense takes the ball out of the end zone, then gets tackled in the end zone for a safety.

In this article, we’re going to show you what 1-point safety is and how it can happen.

What Is a Safety?

A safety can be scored in two different ways:

  1. A ball carrier is tackled or forced out of bounds in his own endzone
  2. The offense commits a foul in their own endzone

After this happens, the ball is kicked off to the team that scored the safety from the 20-yard line.

When a Safety is recorded, it is worth 2 points. In over 99% of safeties that have ever been recorded, they have been for 2 points.

Inherently in that statistic, there have been times when a ‘safety’ was recorded, but it was not worth two points (it was only worth one point).

This is where the one point safety happens.

One Point Safety

Yes, there is such a thing as a 1 Point safety. But before we get into that, let’s cover the basics.

The only time a 1 point safety can occur is when the offense on an extra point or two point conversion attempt gets tackled in their own end zone. This is commonly known as conversion safety or one point safety.

While it is doubtful that this scenario ever plays out, it has actually happened twice in NCAA Division I football. Conversely, since 1940 it has never happened in the NFL. Let’s look at the two times it has happened in NCAA DI:

1. November 26, 2004: A regular-season game in which Texas scored against Texas A&M

In this college football game, Texas was going for an extra point attempt scoring play. Texas A&M blocked the extra point attempt.

The Texas A&M player then tried to lateral the ball to another player. However, he ended up throwing it backwards across the goal line. The defensive team then jumped on the football in the end zone.

Because the offensive player had possession of the ball, then lateraled it, it counts as a fumble. This is why Texas was awarded a one point safety.

2. January 3, 2013: The 2013 Fiesta Bowl in which Oregon scored against Kansas State.

In the Fiesta Bowl, the Kansas State player blocked the extra point attempt kick and recovered it at the line of scrimmage.

He then ran back across the goal line and fumbled it into the end zone, in an attempt to lateral the ball. The Kansas State player then fell in the end zone, which resulted in a one point safety.

The extra point try was unsuccessful, however, because the player ran backward into the end zone, this is why Oregon was given one point. This is a great job by the kicking team, playing until the whistle and not giving up on the play.

The point-after-touchdown kick was blocked in both games and recovered by the defense, which then fumbled or threw the ball back into its own end zone where it was downed.

The player, who started on defense, became a player on offense when he possessed the ball and went down in the opposite end zone that he would be aiming to score in.

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More Facts About One Point Safeties

The one point safety can happen in high school football, college football, and in the NFL.

In most instances, we see it happen in college because they are closer to the goal line. It will be harder for it to occur in the present-day NFL because the new rule pushes the field goals back.

  • There are also two known NCAA Division III occurrences, the first being on November 11, 2000, against St. Thomas-Minnesota and Hamline University, and the most recent against Bluffton University and Franklin College (Indiana), which took place on November 9, 2013
  • Brad Nessler was doing the live television broadcast of both games.

The 1 point safety is extremely rare in football, but it’s good to learn the rules and be informed when the referee makes the decision.

Keep Learning

Rules like the one point safety don’t occur often. But it’s good to know them in case something chaotic happens in the game. We discuss different rules like these in our Ultimate Football Guide which you can find below. Instantly grow your football IQ!

The 1 point safety is only called when the offense attempts to go for an extra point. While it is rare to see in any game, it is possible through a series of events.

Do you have more questions about safeties? Or is there another topic you would like to see covered? Let us know below!

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About the author 

Chris Haddad

Chris Haddad is the founder of vIQtory Sports & high school coach for over 12+ years. He has been featured as an authority on Hudl, Bleacher Report and countless other football-centric platforms. Chris continues to study and provide valuable content for those looking to learn more about the game of football.