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How Does Scoring Work In Football?

How Does Scoring Work In Football

At first, football scoring appears to be pretty straightforward. After all, all a team has to do is kick the ball over the line to score a touchdown. They can also score another point by kicking a field goal. However, in football, the math is frequently concerned with the points and the yards required to go up the pitch and the possible points that can be scored on a given play.


Understanding all of the different factors that go into football scoring can help a team select who to include on their scoring lineup and how to use those players to score effectively.


Continue reading to know more about how football scoring works.



The ultimate goal is to score a touchdown, which is rewarded with six points. Whenever an offensive player holding the football, or a defensive player who has recovered the ball from the opposing team upon regaining a fumble or intercepting a pass, approaches from any point on the football field and breaches the boundary of his competitors’ goal line with the ball, the team scores a touchdown. All the ball has to do now is cross the finish line.


A touchdown is also awarded when an inbounds player grabs or recovers a ball past the goal line of his opponent. A kickoff, punt, or fumble can all result in a touchdown.


Extra points and two-point conversions

An extra point attempt is made during the scrimmage that follows a touchdown. If the player hits the ball between both the goal post uprights and above the crossbar, the extra point is scored, given that the ball was thrown 2 yards from the goal line of the opponent (or 3 yards away in college or high school). Extra point attempts should nearly always be made because the kick is relatively simple.


After scoring a touchdown, a team may opt for a two-point conversion if they feel extremely confident — or desperate. The offense starts on the 2-yard line (in high school and college, the 3-yard line) and must play the ball over the goal line as though aiming for a touchdown.



Two points are awarded for a successful safety. Impetus, which is an offensive player’s action that offers the football momentum, is a critical aspect in a safety. If the defending side sends the ball toward the opponent’s goal line and the ball remains motionless without shifting possession, the defending team is awarded a safety. This happens when a quarterback, receiver, or running back is tackled inside his own end zone or gets out of bounds behind the goal line. A safety is given when the offensive side suffers a penalty that otherwise might force the ball to be positioned in its own end zone.


Another way of scoring a safety is when a jammed punt leaves the striking team’s end zone. The defensive team wins a safety if the punt recipient muffles the ball and then, while attempting to retrieve it, forces or unfairly kicks it into the end zone (generating more momentum), and it ends up going out of the end zone.


Field goal

A field goal is scored when a player passes the ball to a holder; usually, a punter or a backup quarterback, and the kicker kicks it through the goalposts for three points. The dropkick is another rarely utilized method of converting a field goal. The kicker in this play takes the ball up in the air and sends it through.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Football Scoring

Here we will answer some frequently answered questions that can deepen your understanding of football scoring:


What are the most common football scoring strategies?

In today’s NFL, the passing touchdown is the most effective way to score points. As a result of this trend, defensive touchdowns have increased as the defense seems to have more chances to score on the offense’s blunders. The field goal is the second most common method of scoring. Running touchdowns are more frequent because scoring one requires either a spectacular play or being out of the end zone. The last scores are the less common ones, like safety, two-point conversion, and extra point.


Is it possible for a team to score only one point in a game?

It is technically conceivable for a team to win only one point in an entire football game. This outcome, however, is extremely unlikely. Unless the offense fails to execute a good enough effort, they can retrieve the ball 98 yards away in their own end zone and be tackled for a safety. In the NFL, this play is possible, but it hasn’t been observed yet.


What are the most points ever scored by an NFL team in a single game?

The NFL Championship game played between Washington and the Chicago Bears in 1940 featured the highest points gained by an NFL club in a single game. The Bears controlled the game and trounced Washington 73-0. The Bears scored seven of their eleven touchdowns on the ground. Only one touchdown came via a passing play, as the passing attack was not completely understood at the time.


In the NFL, how often do teams go for conversions?

Two-point conversions were originally reserved for emergency situations. However, as football analytics have become more prevalent, teams are opting to play two more frequently. The ratio of teams opting for the two-point conversion has been steadily rising in recent years, with no signs of slowing down. The disparity in scores per try for the two-point conversion and the extra point will heavily influence more teams to take this risk after scoring six points.