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Football Field Goals

What is a field goal in football? How many points is a field goal worth? Get ready to learn about football field goals and the difference between NFL field goals and NCAA field goals in football.

Field Goals

A field goal is a football kick that is worth three points. It requires a player from the special teams unit to kick the ball into the opposing team's goal post. A football team can kick a field goal from anywhere on the field. If the field goal is missed, the ball will be placed back at the original line of scrimmage and the defense will gain possession on first down.


Field Goal Strategy

A football team should only kick a field goal if they are within or near field goal range, which can vary depending on the skill and strength of the kicker. A football team can attempt a field goal on any scrimmage down and from anywhere on the football field. Most field goals are attempted on fourth down or if there is little time left on the game clock. Football teams prefer touchdowns over field goals since they are worth twice the number of points, plus an extra point attempt. But field goals are options when a team is in crunch time and is trying to rack up extra points.


Goal Posts

Where exactly does a kicker have to kick the ball? Between the yellow goal posts, which are in the middle of the back line of the end zones. When kicking a field goal, teams kick to the goal posts in their opponent's end zone. football-goal-post

Football Special Teams

The following special teams players work together to make a field goal:

Let's learn about each player's individual role.


Long Snappers

The long snapper hikes the ball to the holder. He is similar to a center, but specializes in snapping the 7 yards that a ball is hiked on a field goal play, hence the name long snapper.


The holder holds the ball in place on the field for the kicker to kick. Holders are often players who also play another position, such as a punter or a backup quarterback.


The place kicker runs toward the ball held by the holder and kicks it towards the goal posts. He holds most of the pressure, as place kickers have the hardest job. Skilled place kickers are highly coveted, unlike long snappers and holders which are far more replaceable. The whole game can lie on the place kicker's shoulders!


The defense's job is to try to prevent a field goal in any way possible. They put pressure on the kicker by running at him. The best case scenario for a defense is a blocked kick. The defense can block it either by running around the linemen and diving in front of the ball, or reaching over the line of scrimmage and knocking the ball down.

If the defense expects the offense to miss the field goal because it is a long kick, they may put a receiver back in their own end zone. If the defensive receiver catches the field goal attempt cleanly, he has possession of the ball and may try to score a touchdown or advance the ball up the field.

It's Good!

For a field goal to count, the ball must travel above the crossbar and in between the uprights to be considered good. If it hits off a goal post and stays out, it does not count. The two officials below the goal posts will raise their hands into the air to show if it was a successful kick.

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