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I can imagine four situations where the title applies.

  1. The ballcarrier is out of the end zone and fumbles when he is tackled. This would not be a safety except for the fumble.

  2. The ballcarrier is in the end zone and fumbles when he is tackled. This would be a safety, even if the tackle had not resulted in a fumble.

  3. Situation #1, but multiple players (perhaps on either team) go for the ball and swat it around before it goes out of bounds.

  4. Situation #2, but multiple players (perhaps on either team) go for the ball and swat it around.

If the offense recovers the ball in their own end zone, then the defender tackling or touching down the recovering player should be credited with the safety. If the ball just trickles out the back or side of the end zone, however, does no one on the defense get credit for the safety?

(It appears that blocking a punt out of the end zone results in that player being credited with the safety, so it would be weird for the defender forcing a fumble that does the same kind of roll not to be credited with the safety.)

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  • I don't believe "safety" is an individual statistic, at least officially, but I don't know that I can find an official source for that. PFR does list it individually, but I believe you'd have to ask them how they determine it - I don't see an explainer.
    – Joe
    Sep 7 at 18:54
  • Regardless I don't think I can think of a more useless statistic - it's basically just a specialized tackle for loss. Not something a player can be particularly good at - or even to the extent they might be, it's fundamentally something that luck and situation would play FAR more of a factor in than actual skill.
    – Joe
    Sep 7 at 18:56
  • There is no particular reason to attribute safeties to an individual player. It's just a tackle, but depending on the location of the field, it might have special meaning, so there is no real reason to distinguish it.
    – SpencerG
    Sep 7 at 20:06

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