What is a Complete Pass in Football?
A complete pass in Football is when an offensive player, usually a wide receiver, running back, or tight end successfully catches a pass and maintains possession of the ball long enough to be considered a ball carrier. For a player to successfully catch a pass, they must catch the ball, land in-bounds, maintain possession of the football if they fall to the ground, and make a 'football move' (run forwards, backwards, spin, juke, etc.) to be considered a ball carrier. If the player does not successfully catch the pass, it is called an incomplete pass and the next down in the down cycle will begin.
If a player is tackled in the process of catching the ball and the ball touches the ground, the play is dead and it is called an incomplete pass. If a player is tackled after successfully catching the ball and the ball comes loose, it is called a fumble and the ball is live for either team to recover. A player cannot be tackled while attempting to make a catch before the ball is in close range of the receiver. If a receiver is tackled before the ball is close enough to catch, the defense is penalized with a defensive pass interference penalty, a very costly penalty.