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Football: Scoring

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In football there are a few ways to score. Most of the scoring is done by field goals and touchdowns. Here is a list of the types of scores possible: More details on football scoring:

Touchdown - 6 points

Touchdowns are the primary goal in football and they score the most points. Players score a touchdown when they advance the ball across the other team's goal line into the end zone. Players must have possession of the football and it must "break the plane" of the goal line. Once the ball has broken the plane on a run, then a touchdown is scored and what happens afterwards doesn't matter.

After scoring a touchdown the offensive football team is also awarded the chance for an extra point or two point conversion.

Extra point - 1 point

An extra point can be attempted after a touchdown. The ball is placed on the 2 yard line (NFL) or 3 yard line (college) and the team attempts a play to kick the ball through the uprights. If they make it, they get 1 point. This is sometimes called a PAT or Point After Touchdown.

Two point conversion - 2 points

A two point conversion can be attempted after a touchdown. Like with the extra point, the ball is placed on the 2 yard line (NFL) or 3 yard line (college). In this case the team tries to advance the ball across the goal line like with a touchdown. They get 1 attempt. If they can advance the football across the goal, they get 2 points.

This is considered more difficult and risky versus the extra point. Most teams attempt the extra point until late in the game. If they really need 2 points, then they will take the chance.

Field Goal - 3 points

A field goal is when the place kicker kicks the ball through the uprights. It can be attempted at any time, but is usually attempted on fourth down with the football inside the opponent's 35 yard line.

In order to figure the length of a field goal, you have to add 10 yards for the distance of the End Zone and another 7 yards for the snap of the ball back to the holder to the line of scrimmage. This means you add 17 yards to the line of scrimmage marker to get the field goal length. For example, if the football is on the 30 yard line, it would be a 47 yard field goal attempt.

Safety - 2 points

A safety occurs when the defense tackles an offensive player behind their goal line. A safety is also awarded if a dropped or blocked punt goes through the kicking team's end zone. Sometimes a safety is awarded in the case of a penalty on the offensive football team in the end zone such as holding.

Referee Signals for Scoring

Touchdown signal

To signal a touchdown, extra point, two point conversion, and field goal, the referee raises both arms straight into the air. Touchdown!

Safety Signal

To signal a safety, the referee puts his palms together above his head.

* referee signal pictures from the NFHS

More Football Links:

Football Rules
Football Scoring
Timing and the Clock
The Football Down
The Field
Referee Signals
Football Officials
Violations that Occur Pre-Snap
Violations During Play
Rules for Player Safety
Player Positions
Running Back
Offensive Line
Defensive Line
The Secondary
Football Strategy
Offense Basics
Offensive Formations
Passing Routes
Defense Basics
Defensive Formations
Special Teams

How to...
Catching a Football
Throwing a Football
How to Punt a Football
How to Kick a Field Goal

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