Let's Score!

Scoring is most often done by the offense, but the defense can manufacture ways to score as well. Let's talk about the offense first.

Offensive Scoring

Touchdown (TD) - 6 Points: 

A touchdown is scored when the offense moves the ball down field to the goal line. A TD can be made in three ways:

            Run the ball so that at least a part of the ball is touching or goes over the goal line

            2. Throw a pass that an offensive player catches within the boundaries of the end zone. One foot must land within the end zone without touching the white boundary lines around the sides or back end of the area and the player must maintain control of the ball when he lands or is tackled.

            Run the ball so it goes over the top of or inside one of the pylons on the front end of the end zone.

If there is any doubt about whether the ball is in the end zone or touching the goal line, a timeout will be called and a booth review will take place.

A runner crosses the goal line to score a touchdownA runner scores a touchdown by crossing the goal line

There are two ways the offense can score more points:

            1 . Extra Point / Point after Touchdown (PAT) - 1 Point:

            The ball is placed on the 3-yard line and the offense's kicker tries to kick the ball over the cross bar and between the uprights of the goal post. In this type of kick, the center snaps the ball to a player who holds the ball upright for the kicker.

Teams lined up for an extra point attemptTeams lined up for an extra point attempt

2.  Two-point Conversion - 2 Points:

            The coaches make the decision to go for a two-point conversion based on several factors, such as the score and time remaining in the game. The ball is placed on the 3 yard line and either a run or pass play is called to try to score, just like when trying to score a TD. This option is not frequently used, as the probability of success with a PAT is much higher.


Field Goal: 3 Points:

If the offense fails to make a first down on fourth down, they may exercise the option to try a field goal. The ball is placed at the spot of the fourth down and snapped to a holder. Then the kick is attempted. It must go over the cross bar and between the uprights. That's a small area when the kick may be coming from as much as 50+ yards away!

If the field goal is unsuccessful the ball goes over to the opposite team and play starts from the previous spot unless the previous spot is between the 20-yard line and the goal line, in which case the play will start from the offense's own 20 yard line.

The referees signal a field goal (or extra point) good by raising both armsThe referees signal a field goal (or extra point) good by raising both arms


Defensive Scoring

Since the offense has the ball, the defense has to manufacture ways to get the ball away from the offense and score, They can do this in two ways:

            1. Intercept a pass: If the offense throws a pass, the defense can catch the ball and run it back to the offense's end zone for a touchdown (6 points) and follow-up extra point attempt . If no TD is scored, the ball goes over to the team who intercepted the pass for further play.

            2. Recover a fumble: If an offensive player drops the ball after the snap, or a runner drops the ball when tackled the defense can scoop the ball up and run it back to the offense's end zone for a touchdown (6 points) and follow up extra point attempt .

                        a. If the offense fumbles the ball in the defense's end zone and the defense falls on the ball, it is a touchdown (6 points) for the defensive team plus a chance to attempt an extra point.

Safety: 2 Points:

A safety happens when a player with the ball is tackled in his own end zone or goes out of bounds from his own end zone. This gives 2 points to the defense. The ball is then placed on the 20-yard line and the offense kicks to the defense (that just scored the safety).

Touchdown: 2 Points:

Only during two point conversion attempts : if a pass is intercepted or fumble recovered by the defense and run back for a touchdown, the touchdown only counts for 2 points. Afterwards, the team that scored retains possession for further play.

Safety: 1 Point: If a safety should occur during an extra point attempt , the safety only counts for 1 point. This is a very rare event, and would only occur if a member of the defense should happen to catch a blocked extra point attempt in the air while in the end zone.