What are the hash marks used for on a football field? The hash marks are used to align players on the field at the start of each play. How do NFL hash marks differ from college football hash marks? Get ready to learn about the hash marks in football.
Hash marks are small dashes on the football field used to align the players at the start of each scrimmage down. There are two sets of hash marks on the middle of the football field. They run along the same linear path as the yard lines, but are very different from them.
Hash Mark Ball Placement
The hash marks are used to place the ball at the start of every scrimmage down. There are two places where the ball will be placed:
- Between hash marks
- On the closest hash mark
It all depends on where the previous scrimmage down ended.
Between Hash Marks
On Hash Marks
If the ball is ruled dead outside the hash marks, the ball is placed on the closest hash mark at the start of the next scrimmage down.
Hash Mark Distance
The hash marks are used to align the players at the start of each scrimmage down. At all three levels of play, the distance between the hash marks varies. The distance of the hash marks affects the strategy behind the game.
In college football the hash mark distance is greater, so the ball is usually placed near the sides of the field. In the NFL, the hash mark distance is smaller, leading to more scrimmage downs starting in the middle of the field.
NFL Hash Marks
In the NFL, the hash marks are 18ft and 6in apart.
The NFL hash mark distance is smaller than in college football. This results in the ball usually being placed in the middle of the football field.
College Football Hash Marks
In college football, the hash marks are 40ft apart.
High School Football Hash Marks
In high school football, the hash marks are 53ft and 4in apart.
The high school hash mark distance is the largest compared to college football and the NFL hash mark distance. This results in the ball usually being placed near the sides of the football field.