Goal line (gridiron football)
The goal line is the chalked or painted line dividing the end zone from the field of play in American football and Canadian football. It is the line that must be crossed in order to score a touchdown.
If any part of the ball reaches any part of the imaginary vertical plane transected by this line while in-bounds and in possession of a player whose team is striving toward that end of the field, this is considered a touchdown and scores six points for the team whose player has advanced the ball to, or recovered the ball in, this position. This is in contrast with other sports like Association football and ice hockey, which require the puck or ball to pass completely over the goal line to count as a score.
If, during the course of play, a loose ball travels past the goal line and is recovered within the end zone, then it is a touchdown if recovered by the team that scores in that end zone, or a touchback if recovered and downed by the opposing team
In the event of a kick recovered in one's own end zone, the entirety of the ball must pass the goal line in order for the ball to be considered a touchback, and to not be in the field of play.
- Ominsky, Dave; Harari, P. J. (1 September 2002). "Football Made Simple: A Spectator's Guide". First Base Sports, Inc. – via Google Books.