Arena football is a sport that resembles traditional professional football with similar scoring systems. A few of the most common methods of scoring in arena football include touchdowns, conversions after touchdowns, field goals, and safeties.
A touchdown in arena football occurs when a player crosses the opposing team's goal line with possession of the ball. This can be achieved by running the ball in or passing the ball into the end zone. For the touchdown to count, any part of the ball must cross the goal line. Therefore, if the player reaches the ball out to cross the line but they do not cross, the touchdown still counts. In addition, if catching the ball in the end zone, a player only has to have one foot in bounds to score a touchdown.
Unlike the NFL, players in arena football can catch a ball that rebounds off the back end zone net before it touches the ground to score a touchdown. A touchdown is worth 6 points.
After scoring a touchdown, a team can go for a one or two point conversion. To score a one point conversion, the team must complete a place kick. For the kick to be successful, the ball must pass between the two upright posts of the opposing team's field goal.
For a two point conversion, a team can either execute a drop kick or score the ball once again. Similar to a place kick, the drop kick must also result in the ball passing between the two upright field goal posts to score two points. On the other hand, the team can also execute a passing or running play from a few yards out. If the ball is advanced across the goal line like a touchdown, the team is awarded two points.
Although an unconventional way to score, the defensive team can also score on a conversion after a touchdown. If the defense obtains possession of the ball and returns the ball to the opposing end zone, they are awarded two points. The defensive team can do this in several ways including stripping the ball from the offensive player, intercepting the ball, picking up a fumble, or even blocking a kicking attempt.
If a team does not advance the ball 10 yards after their first three downs, they may attempt to kick a field goal if they are close enough to the opposing team's end zone. A field goal is three points if done as a place kick and four points if done as a drop kick. For the field goal to count, the ball must be kicked between the two opposing goal posts.
To score a safety, a team must tackle an opposing ball carrier inside that player's own end zone. For example, if the opposing quarterback drops back to pass and is tackled in his own end zone (behind the goal line), the defensive team is awarded a safety. A safety is worth two points.
For a place kick, the ball is usually set on top of a kicking tee and is held by one player on the team while kicked by another player. Alternatively, a drop kick is when one player drops the ball and kicks it after it bounces off of the ground. If successful, a place kick is worth three points for a field goal while a drop kick is worth four points for a field goal.
Even though it isn't as common as the offensive team scoring, the defensive team can also score touchdowns. If the defensive team obtains possession of the ball and returns it to the other end zone, they are awarded six points for a touchdown. The defense can gain possession of the ball during a play by intercepting it, stripping it from the ball carrier, recovering a fumble/loose ball on the ground, or blocking a kick.
One of the main scoring differences between arena football and traditional American football is drop kick scoring. While rarely executed regular football, drop kicks are a strategic method of scoring in arena football. In traditional football, a field goal is only worth three points and an extra point kick is only worth one. However, an arena football drop kick field goal can earn a team four points and a drop kick extra point is worth two.