In American football, a thrown ball that goes forward.

In football's early days, forward passing was illegal, and it still is in football's predecessor sport of rugby. As the game evolved in the first half of the 20th century, the forward pass was legalized with certain restrictions.

In standard American football, passing and running play more or less even roles, depending on the whims of the offensive scheme (there are primarily running offenses and primarily passing offenses). In arena football, the forward pass is virtually the only successful method of advancing the ball; for example, in 2001 one of the top teams in arenafootball2, the Richmond Speed, netted a total of 387 rushing yards for the entire 16-game regular season, or about 24.2 per game, versus 3,692 passing yards, about 230.8 per game (on a 50-yard field).

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