Football Extra Kick

Chapter 4.5

The extra kick is one of two ways that teams can score additional points after a touchdown is scored during the try.

Introduction

We've learned in the last chapter about tries and that they happen after a touchdown is scored.

REMEMBER: No one actually calls it a try. This is the technical term used in the rulebooks. Everyone calls it either the the extra kick or the two-point conversion.

The Extra Kick

The extra kick is one of two ways a team can score additional points after a touchdown during the the try.

Rookie Road Football Extra Kick Image

Starting at the opponent's 15-yard line, the extra kick requires the team to kick the ball into the goal post.

PRO TIP: In 2015, the NFL moved the extra kick from the 2-yd line to the 15-yd line. This made it much harder because the kick attempt is further away from the goal post.

If successful, the extra kick is worth one (1) additional point. So, a team will earn a total of seven (7) points on the drive. If the extra kick misses, they earn zero (0) additional points. So, a team will earn a total of six (6) points on the drive.

LINGO ALERT: The term drive describes what a team does during a particular time period. An offensive drive would describe what a team does when they have possession of the ball.

Extra Kick Strategy

So when will a team go for the extra kick and when will they go for the two-point conversion? The extra kick is known to be higher percentage than the two-point conversion. A team will almost always go for the extra kick unless gaining two (2) points is a necessity.

Imagine the score is the following:

If the away team scores a touchdown, the score becomes:

If the away team succeeds on the extra kick, the score becomes:

If the away team succeeds on the two-point conversion, the score becomes:

It is advantageous for the away team to go for the two-point conversion in this case because they are losing by three (3) points makes it a 1-possession game.

LINGO ALERT: the phrase X-possession game means that a team only needs to score X number of times to tie the score. So, if it's a 1-possession game, a team only needs to score 1 time with either a field goal or touchdown (depending on the score) to tie the game.

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