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Single (football)

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Title: Single (football)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Field goal, Comparison of American and Canadian football, End zone, Down (gridiron football), Punt (gridiron football)
Collection: Canadian Football Terminology
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Single (football)

In Canadian football, a single (single point, or rouge), scoring one point, is awarded when the ball is kicked into the end zone by any legal means, other than a successful field goal, and the receiving team does not return, or kick, the ball out of its end zone. It is also a single if the kick travels through the end zone or goes out of bounds in the end zone without being touched, except on a kickoff. After conceding a single, the receiving team is awarded possession of the ball at the 35-yard line of its own end of the field.

Singles are not awarded in the following situations:

  • if a ball is downed in the end zone after being intercepted in the end zone
  • if a ball is fumbled outside the end zone
  • if the kicked ball hits the goalposts (since the 1970s; before then it was a live ball)
  • when a kickoff goes into the end zone and then out of bounds without being touched

In all these cases the defending team is awarded possession of the ball at the 25-yard line.

In the United States, singles are not usually recognized in most leagues and are awarded only in matches played under the auspices of the National Indoor Football League (formerly United Indoor Football) and the now-defunct American Indoor Football Association. It is applied only on kickoffs in both leagues, and is scored if the receiving team fails to advance the ball out of the end zone when kicked. The NIFL also allowed a single to be scored by kicking a kickoff through the uprights (as in a field goal); this type of single is nicknamed (and has since been codified in the NIFL rules as) an uno, from the Spanish word for the number one. At one point, the Philadelphia Public League (the public high school football sanctioning body in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) awarded three points for kicking a kickoff through the uprights.

The Canadian Football League has discussed abolishing the single but proposals to do so as recently as 2005 have been rejected. A less sweeping proposal would see the single eliminated on punts and field goal attempts that pass out the sidelines of the end zone – such a change would eliminate the "consolation" point for a failed coffin corner attempt. Another proposal would have the rouge scored only when kicks from scrimmage are deemed 'returnable' having touched the end zone or a return team player without being advanced back into the field of play.

In the official rules, the single point is also called a rouge, French for "red", and the origin is unclear. One theory is that a red flag was used to signal the score in the game's early days. Another is that, because the conceding team had a point deducted from its score on the play in earlier days, the tally was called a "red point".

However, the concept of the rouge dates back to several public school sports played in England from the early 19th century. In rossall hockey played at Rossall School, and the Eton Field Game, both of which are still played today, a rouge can be scored after the ball has gone into the local equivalent of the 'end zone' after striking another player. The Sheffield Rules, a 19th-century code of football, also utilized the rouge as a secondary scoring method. The rushed behind conceded by a defender is a somewhat similar concept used in Australian rules football, as is the point in Gaelic football, although neither sport has an end zone.

See also

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