While the forward pass is an invention of the North American games, the lateral and backward pass is also a part of
While a forward pass may only be thrown once per
Unlike a forward pass, if a backward pass hits the ground or an official, play continues and, as with a
A ball that is passed exactly sideways is considered a backwards pass. If it hits the ground, the person throwing or "pitching" the lateral pass will be subjected to the fumble designation in the statistics in the NFL, even if the ball is dropped or muffed by a teammate, although in college football this can be credited to whichever player the statistician feels is most responsible. If the ball hits the ground after travelling even slightly forward, however, it is then incomplete instead of a fumble.