You’ll notice that touchdowns aren’t the only way to earn points during an NFL game. Field goals are kicked by a specialized player called a kicker in certain situations. During regular play, a field goal is made when the kicker kicks or drop kicks the ball through the goalposts and over the crossbar.
If a team kicks a field goal instead of going for a touchdown, you might wonder why. In this article, we will explain what a field goal is, how many points it is worth, and why you would choose to kick one.
How Many Points is a Field Goal in Football?
A touchdown in the National Football League is worth at least six points. When an extra-point kick is successful, a touchdown becomes seven points, and when a two-point conversion is successful, it becomes eight points.
A field goal and an extra point kick both involve the kicker, but an additional point conversion is not the same as a field goal. Field goals are separate plays.
A field goal, on the other hand, is only worth three points. Despite being less valuable than touchdowns, three points are still important. The following is a breakdown of why you would kick a field goal during a game.
Why Do you Kick a Field Goal?
Field goals can be kicked during the last down of a game. If the offense is more than a yard or two from a new first down and within kicking distance of the goalposts, a field goal attempt is likely. About 45 yards is the kicking range at the NFL level.
When there is only enough time left to execute one more play in the first half, a field goal is a strategic play. In the first half, teams might not have timeouts, so they want to score three points. It is best to kick a field goal as the ball is in the air, which means that it is the last play of the first half.
A field goal might also be a strategic way to win a game. To win a game with a field goal, a team might attempt to take as much time off the clock as possible before kicking the field goal. As an example, the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI with a game-winning field goal kick.
How Do you Set up a Field Goal Kick?
In order to attempt a field goal, offensive players line up in a tight formation near the line of scrimmage. The placekicker and the holder set up seven to eight yards behind the line of scrimmage to kick the ball.
On field goal kick attempts and punts, some teams might have a long snapper, a specialized position trained to snap the ball to the holder.
After receiving the snap from the long snapper, the holder holds the ball vertically against the ground. Stitches are held so that they face away from the kicker.
As soon as the holder has possession of the ball, the kicker usually begins his approach. Either a kicker or holder can miss a field goal with a small error. In order to line the ball up correctly for the kicker, the holder must not fumble the ball while the kicker is approaching.
Can a Kicker Drop-Kick a Field Goal Kick?
In football, the kicker can also drop kick the field goal kick. The most common practice in modern American football is place-kicking rather than drop-kicking.
What is the Longest Regular Season field goal kick?
Field goal kicks are measured from the goalpost to the point where the holder places the ball on the ground. Goalposts in American football are located above the end line, so the ten yards of the end zone are included in the field goal distance.
The average distance of a field goal kick in the NFL is 52 yards. Throughout the history of the game, however, there have been no successful field goal kicks.
Matt Prater holds the record for the longest field goal kick in NFL history with a 64-yard field goal on December 8, 2013. The record was set while he was a member of the Denver Broncos. During a game against the Tennessee Titans, he completed the kick. As time expired in the first half, the kick was made as a final play.
Prior to Prater, Tom Dempsey had set the previous record of 63 yards in 1970. The record has been matched by several other players since 1970, but Prater broke it for the first time in over 40 years.
What was the Record for the Longest Super Bowl Field Goal Kick?
At Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994, Steve Christie kicked a 54-yard field goal for the Buffalo Bills to set the record for the longest Super Bowl field goal kick.
What is the Record for the Longest High School Field Goal Kick?
High school football’s longest field goal record belongs to Dirk Borgognone, who kicked 68 yards in 1985. In the NFL, Borgognone was a placekicker.
Can you Fake a Field Goal Kick?
Field goal kicks can be faked. A phony kick is a trick play used in football games that is not very common. In order to fake a field goal kick, the kicking team sets up in the kick formation and runs a running or passing play instead.
It is not uncommon for the placekicker to serve as the passer or rusher as well.
So Why Would you Fake a Field Goal Kick?
If successful, it will catch the opposing team off guard and give your team a chance to score a touchdown or extend a drive.
In the 1980s, Dallas Cowboys punter and kicker Danny White was famous for successfully faking field goal kicks.
Field goal opportunities are critical to a game’s outcome. A field goal can sometimes be all a team needs to win a game, so staying calm under pressure is key. Field goals can be problematic to kick if the weather is bad, such as rain or wind, so there is no guarantee that they will go in.
To encourage more touchdowns and fewer field goals, goalposts were moved to the back of the end zone in 1974. Additionally, it was safer for the players. 23 percent of the points scored in 1973 came from field goals. Only 15% of the scoring in 1974 came from field goals.
The difference between an extra point and a field goal is that an extra point is taken directly after a touchdown, while a field goal is taken and worth one point. Field goals are worth three points and are taken to end dives rather than ending in touchdowns.