Scoring in Football – How Football Teams Score Points in Game Play

At first glance, it might seem that scoring in football is pretty simple. After all, teams only need to kick the ball into the end zone to get a point. They can also kick a field goal once for another point. But the mathematics involved in football often has more to do with not just the points, but the yardage required to move up the field and the possible scores that can be made on a given play. Learning all the various factors that go into scoring in football will help any team decide who to put on their scoring roster and how to best utilize those players for the best possible chance at scoring.

The first thing to consider when it comes to scoring in football is the primary goal of the offense. This includes both the offensive and defensive efforts to either score a touchdown or to stop the other team from gaining that point. The main goal of the offense is usually scored through the running game, usually with a good chunk play. Sometimes this results in short yardage, which gives the offense an advantage. Other times, a team will try to score a lot of points by throwing the ball down the field, either with a direct pass or with a setback, usually resulting in a turnover situation at the end of the half or overtime.

In addition to the primary score, which is usually scored by the offense, there are two other main categories that can be scored during a football game: scoring by the defense and scoring by the special teams. Each team has a certain amount of time (teams have thirty seconds to score) to run their offense or defense, make plays with the ball, or take advantage of any opposing special teams. When the time expires, the winner is the team with the most points.

A team can score points if it has possession of the ball. A team’s score can be increased by touchdowns, extra points and two-point conversions. Field goals and safeties are also possible.


Six points are the ultimate goal. A touchdown is worth six. If an offensive or defensive player carries the ball and advances on the field, or after intercepting or recovering a pass, a team is deemed to have scored a touchdown. The ball must cross the line.

If a player inbounds and catches or retrieves a ball that is not within his opponent’s goal line, a team can also be awarded a touchdown. This type of touchdown can be on a kickoff or punt.

Additional points and two-point conversions

An extra points is offered during the scrimmage that takes place after a touchdown. If the kicker kicks the extra point, the ball will be placed between the uprights and above the crossbar. The ball must have been snapped at least 2 yards from the opponent’s goal line. Extra point attempts should be made almost every time, especially at the high school level.

If a team feels particularly confident or desperate, it may attempt a 2-point conversion after scoring touchdowns. The offense must move the ball over the goal line, as if it were a touchdown.

Field goals

Three points are awarded for a field goal. This is often the consolation prize for offenses that stall within their opponent’s 30-yard lines. Field goal is when the kicker kicks the ball completely through the uprights of a goalpost, without touching the ground or any of his teammates.


Two points are worth a safety. The most important element in a safety is momentum, which refers to the offensive player’s action that gives the ball momentum. If the ball is sent into the opponent’s end zone, the safety is awarded to that team. This happens when a receiver, quarterback, running back or running back is tackled with a ball in their own end zone. An offense team can also be awarded a safety if it commits a penalty that would require the ball to be marked in its own zone.

If a blocked punt is kicked out of the end zone by the kicking team, a safety is awarded. The safety is awarded to the defensive team if the punt receiver muffles the ball or attempts to recover it illegally. The safety is awarded to the defensive team if the muffed ball is forced or kicked into the end zone, and then recovered by a member from the receiving team.

How Does Scoring Work In Football?

How Does Scoring Work In Football?


A touchdown is the most lucrative way to score football’s game. Six points are awarded to the team that scores the touchdown. To score a touchdown, the ball must cross the goal-line of the opposing team while in the possession or catch and hold the ball in the opposing end zone.

All touchdowns in football are worth six points, but the college and pro football end zone catch rules differ. For a pro football touchdown to count, the receiver must be able to catch the ball with both feet. For six points, a college player must have one foot on the ground with the ball in his hands.

Field Goal

Three points are awarded for a field goal. This is when a player passes the ball to a holder (a punter, backup quarterback) and the kicker places it through the uprights. A dropkick is a rare way to convert a field-goal into a touchdown. This play is where the kicker drops the ball from the ground and kicks it through.

Since 1941, only one dropkick was converted. The dropkick was converted by Doug Flutie in 2005. Traditional field goals are usually kicked from eight yards behind the offensive line. For either possession or a touchdown, the opposing team may block the ball and retrieve it.

Two-Point Conversion

A team can decide to either kick an extra point or try to score a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown. Most teams will only attempt to score two points in today’s NFL. A two-point conversion requires that the scoring team reaches the endzone in exactly the same way as a touchdown. The play starts at the two-yard line.

Although most teams prefer the PAT, analytics recommend that you go for two. The two-point play averages 1.02 points per attempt while extra point averages 0.938.

Extra Point

The extra point, also known as Point After Touchdown (or PAT) was the most common play in football before the 2015 rule change. The scoring team attempted a field goal from the 2-yard line until 2015. This made the kick as simple as possible in a professional sport. The extra-point refers to a field goal made from the 15 yard-line, making the attempt a 33-yard goal.

The rule change had a major impact on kickers as they now struggle to make the extra point. Prior to the rule change, kickers made between 98 and 99 percent of their extra points per season. The success rate is now 93-94 per cent. This rule change also allows a team to block and return the ball back to the goal zone for two points.


Safety is when an offensive team member is tackled or touched by a defender within the offense’s zone. This play is worth two points for the defense team. This score is distinct from other types. After a team has suffered a safety, they are punted the ball to the winning team, giving them both possession and points. If they lead by more than 2 points, teams may use safety breaks to stop the clock.

FootBall Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common ways of scoring in football?

The passing touchdown is the best way to score points today’s NFL. This trend has led to an increase in defensive touchdowns as defense has more opportunities to capitalize on the offense’s mistakes. Field goal is the second most popular way to score. The third most popular way to score in the NFL is the field goal. Rushing touchdowns are more common because the offense must either make a great play or be outside the end zone in order to score one. The less important scores, such as safety, two-point conversion and extra point, are the last.

How often do teams go for conversions in the NFL?

Two-point conversions were once only used in emergencies. But, as analytics have begun to have an impact on football, teams are choosing to use two more often. Recent trends show that the percentage of teams who choose to use the two-point conversion is increasing and it’s not slowing down. After scoring six points, the difference between the points per attempt for the two-point conversion and the extra point will continue influencing more teams to take this risk.

Can a team score 1 point in an entire game?

Technically, it is possible for a team to score only one point during a full football game. However, this result is very unlikely. If the offense fails to make a good enough play, they can recover the ball in their end zone, 98 yards away, and are tackled for safety. This play is possible in the NFL but it has never been seen. It would be a football legend.

What is the most points an NFL team has scored in one game?

In 1940, the NFL Championship between Washington & the Chicago Bears saw the most points scored by an NFL team in one game. Washington was defeated 73-0 by the Bears, who dominated the game. Seven of the 11 touchdowns that the Bears scored were rushing touchdowns. Only one score came from a passing touchdown, as the passing game was not yet fully understood.
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