Definition of Three and Out

What does the term "Three and out" mean in the world of football? What is meant by a "three and out"?

In football, a "three and out" refers to when a team on offence is unable to get a first down, which forces them to immediately punt the ball away.

The King explains the meaning of the popular American football term - Three and out.In American football, you get four downs to get a first down. If you are unsuccessful in getting a first down, you will normally punt the ball away.

For instance - let's say that the Denver Broncos get the ball at their own 24 yard line.

First down - they attempt a pass and it is incomplete.

Second down - they try a running play and gain three yards.

Third down - they attempt another pass and it is batted down by a defensive player.

Now the Broncos are facing a fourth down and 7 from their own 27 yard line. In this situation, they will almost certainly punt the ball away, unless they decide to try some sort of a trick play like a fake punt.

If the Broncos do punt the ball away, they will have had a "three and out", which means that they unsuccessfully tried to get a first down and were forced to punt the ball away.

This is a "three and out".