What is a scrimmage down in football?
To start, the line of scrimmage refers to the yard line that denotes the position of the ball at any given time. From each line of scrimmage, the offense is given four attempts, or downs, to advance the ball 10 yards further towards the opponent's end zone. A down is considered to be lost if the following happens:
- The player with the ball is in contact with the ground with any part of his body other than the hands and feet, and is touched by a member of the defensive team
- The player with the ball travels beyond the boundaries of the field of play
- There is an incomplete pass, in which a legally-thrown ball hits the ground before it is contacted by members of either team.
After the snap, the ball is live and the down begins.
The down ends when the ball is declared dead by officials. The down ends for a variety of reasons:
- A score is made
- A pass is incomplete
- The ball carrier is tackled to the ground
- The ball is carried or thrown out of bounds