Football Second and Goal
What is Second and Goal in Football?
Second and goal in football is the second down in the down cycle with the distance to the first down line being equal to or more than the distance to the endzone, leading to a touchdown instead of a first down. Second and goal can be a tricky down for the defense to defend, but does not always lead to a touchdown for the offense.
The Offense on Second and Goal
On second and goal, the offense's immediate goal is to score a touchdown, so that they can earn at least six points and do not have to punt from so close to their own endzone. The offense can either call a run play or a pass play, both of which can be successful in this situation. However, some teams may be hesitant to call a pass play, as it can easily be intercepted and ruin an easier chance than usual for a touchdown. Watch the Seahawks last offensive play on second and goal in the 2015 Super Bowl for an example of this!
Many plays run on second and goal, depending on how far the offense is from the endzone, can result in a yardage gain without being a touchdown. Though the offense wants a touchdown on every play, any gain in yardage is still an advantage over the defense.
The Defense on Second and Goal
The defense's objective on second and goal is to prevent the offense from scoring, which can be a tough task to do with less than 10 yards between them and the endzone. It is typical of the defense to play man to man in a situation like this, especially if the defenders have a height advantage over the wide receivers. Since the quarterback and wide receivers have less room to work with, the defense has an advantage over a passing offense on second a goal. If the offense appears to be calling a running play, the linemen must stay tight and low on the line of scrimmage, preventing the running back or quarterback from finding any space to run up the middle.