How Are Field Goals Measured In Football?

Football Field Goal Range

Field goals are measured as the distance between where the ball is kicked from and the uprights of the goal posts. This distance is 17 yards plus the distance of the line of scrimmage to the goal line. Since the goal posts are 10 yards behind the goal line, and the holder is positioned seven yards behind the line of scrimmage, an additional 17 yards is added to the kick distance.

For example, if the line of scrimmage was at the 40-yard line, the field goal attempt would be a 57-yard attempt because 40 (the distance from the line of scrimmage to the goal line) plus 17 (the length of the end zone and the distance of the ball behind the line of scrimmage) equals 57.

Formula for Measuring Field Goals

Line of scrimmage yard line + 10 yards + 7 yards = field goal distance


Average Field Goal Length

football field dimensions

Some field goal kickers struggle to make kicks that are further than 30 yards, while other kickers can consistently kick 50-yard field goals without a problem. The average NFL field goal kick is from roughly the 22-yard line, which equals a 39-yard kick.

The longest field goal ever made was a 66-yard kick by Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens. This game-winning field goal lifted his team to victory over the Detroit Lions on September 26th, 2021.

Where do you kick a field goal from?

Field goals can be attempted from any location on the field, except within the end zones. No matter where the field goal is taken from, it is worth three points. For most professional kickers, field goal range is considered within 52 yards, which means that the line of scrimmage is no further than the 35-yard line. Most kickers will not attempt field goals that are over 60 yards, as this exceeds the distance where it is highly likely they will make it. However, in dire situations, field goals have been attempted and made from 60 yards and further. 

FAQ

How do you calculate field goal distance in football?

To calculate the field goal range in football, you take the distance from the line of scrimmage to the goal line and add an additional 17 yards. For example, if the line of scrimmage is at the opponent’s 25-yard line, it will be a 37-yard field goal. The extra 17 yards account for the length of the end zone (10 yards) and the distance between the line of scrimmage and where the ball is set to be kicked from (seven yards). The seven-yard difference gives kickers just enough room to get a kick off without being blocked by the opposing team.

What is the longest field goal scored in college football?

The longest field goal ever made in a collegiate football game was a 69-yard kick by Ove Johansson of Abilene Christian University on October 16th, 1976. Some spectators stated that the kick was so well struck that it would have been good from 75 yards out. A combination of skill, luck, and a sturdy tailwind helped Johanssen break the previous record of 65 yards, which was actually set earlier that same day by Tony Franklin of Texas A&M. While Johanssen holds the record for longest field goal made in college football history, he does not hold the record for longest field goal made in NCAA history, as Abilene Christian University was a member of the NAIA, a different governing body for college sports.

How is target field goal range determined in football?

The term “target field goal range” describes the distance at which a kicker is highly effective at making field goals, and can vary based on the kicker, weather conditions, and where they are playing. Therefore, each game will have a slightly different target field goal range. Special teams coaches can determine their kicker’s target field goal range by analyzing performance in warm-ups. Kickers will take multiple practice field goal attempts before the game, starting relatively close and progressively moving back to further distances. This allows them to see which distances they are consistently making field goals from and at what point they begin to miss more frequently.