Football Down And Distance

What is football down and distance? Get ready to learn about football distance and why this phrase is used throughout a football game.

Football Down and Distance

Down and distance in football describes the current scrimmage down and how the offense needs to go to reach the first down line.

Football Down and Distance

When the offense reaches the first down line they get a new set of four (4) downs. The order of downs goes:

Football Downs

1st and 10

Announcers describe down and distance with numbers like 1st and 10.

Football Down and Distance

The first number is the current down. The second number is the distance to the first down line.

4th and Goal

4th and goal is like 1st and 10, but the distance to the first down line is replaced with the goal line. This happens when the offense reaches ten (10) yards or closer to the end zone.

Football 4th and Goal

You may also hear the phrase replaced with the word goal like 4th & goal.

Football 1st Down

The offense gets a first down when they reach the first down line.

Football 1st Down

The first down line is placed ten (10) yards away from the new line of scrimmage. If a team is within ten (10) yards of the end zone, the goal line becomes the first down line.

Football First Down Line

Turnover on Downs

A turnover on downs happens when the offense fails to reach or go beyond the first down line in four (4) downs. The other team will get possession of the ball.

Football Turnover on Downs

4th Down Strategy

To avoid a turnover on downs, teams will go for a field goal or punt on 4th down. With a field goal, the team can get points. With a punt, a team can maintain strong field position.

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