Football 4th And Long

“4th and long” is a phrase in football used to describe the down and distance of a fourth down with many yards to go before reaching the first-down line. Though there is no definite distance for what constitutes long, this phrase is often used when it’s the 4th down and the team has more than 10 yards to go with only one try left. 

The 4th and long is a definite obstacle for the offensive team, and they must be very tactical in how they wish to proceed in this situation. Read on to learn more about the options teams on offense have when faced with a fourth and long situation.

Going For It on Fourth and Long

If the team chooses to play the ball, many quarterbacks will look for long passes when it’s a 4th and long situation. Any pass down field is promising for these situations because the team is more likely to get another set of downs the longer the pass. Quarterbacks also sometimes run the ball the remaining yards. Since this is their last chance at maintaining possession, the quarterback may even run the ball themself if they see an open lane.

Kicking on Fourth and Long

If the team feels that they are close enough to the goal, they can opt to kick a field goal. Although this is fewer points than a touchdown, it can be a safe bet. The offensive team can also perform a punt, which clears the ball down the field to the other team, in hopes to get them as far away from scoring a touchdown as possible. The goal is to then tackle the player who received the punt and keep them away from the end zone.