Football Takeaway

What is a Takeaway in Football?

A takeaway in football is when possession of the ball is switched between teams as a result of a turnover. In simpler terms, the defense “takes” the ball away from the offense resulting in a change of possession.

Types of Takeaways

There are two main types of takeaways: interceptions and fumbles. Although the two are different plays, they each share the same result in the changing of possession from one team to the other.


An interception is a forward pass that is caught by a defensive player. Standard catch rules apply to an interception, with a defender needing to have the necessary feet in bounds.


The blanket definition for a fumble is to lose possession of the football, leaving it vulnerable to be recovered by the opposing team. While there is the possibility the other team grabs the ball (takeaway),  that does not need to occur for it to be ruled a fumble. Fumbles can happen in a couple different ways.