Football Field Boundary Lines

Chapter 1.4

Are there rules to where players can be on a field? What does inbounds and out-of-bounds mean? Get ready to learn about the boundary lines of a football field.

The Boundary Lines

We've learned in past chapters about the end lines and sidelines. Together, these lines make up the boundary lines of a football field.

Rookie Road Football Boundary Lines Image

You can think of anything inside of the rectangle in the picture above as inbounds. Everything on or outside of this rectangle is considered out-of-bounds.

Inbounds vs. Out-of-Bounds

So what does inbounds and out-of-bounds even mean? When players are on the field playing football they are always either inbounds or out-of-bounds. There are rules associated with the boundary lines. For example,

Touching the Lines

What about the lines themselves? Are they considered inbounds or out-of-bounds?

Rookie Road Football Touching Boundary Lines Image

If a player touches any part of the boundary lines or crosses the boundary lines in any way he/she is considered out-of-bounds.

Catching Plays

In high school and college NCAA football, a player that catches a pass needs to only have one foot inbounds when catching a pass for it to count. In professional NFL football, a player needs both feet inbounds when catching a pass for it to count.

KEY TAKEAWAY: one (1) foot must be inbounds in high school and NCAA college football. Two (2) feet must be inbounds in NFL football.

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