What if I told you the highest scoring football game of all time was back in 1916 and it was a college game between the Georgia Tech Engineers and the Cumberland Bulldogs of Tennessee? The final score had Georgia Tech as the winner with 222 points and the Bulldogs with zero. A total shut out!
You’d probably wonder how on earth could a team score so many points in a game. Well, when it comes to football, there are actually 5 ways a team can score in any given game:
Touchdown - This is probably what you’re most familiar with when it comes to scoring. A touchdown is every team’s ultimate goal and is worth 6 points. When any player with the ball crosses over their opponents goal line, a touchdown is scored.
All kinds of disputes have arisen when it comes to touchdowns. Like whether the player had both feet across the goal line, the ball across the goal line etc. Many official reviews have taken place during games to determine if said player really did cross the line but as long as the ball crosses the line, a touchdown occurs. An example of this is in the photo as Pierre Thomas from the New Orleans Saints, in Super Bowl XLIV, just gets the ball over the line before his knees touch the ground.
Conversions and Extra Points - There are two ways to score 1 or 2 points after a touchdown has been made.
The first way is typically referred to as “the extra point” or PAT (point after touchdown). The team that scored the touchdown will get the opportunity to kick the ball through the uprights and over the bar of the goalpost to earn 1 extra point.
The second type is called a two point conversion and is worth 2 points. It is basically when the team that scored a touchdown tries to score another touchdown instead of kicking through the goal posts. High school and college teams will get the ball on the 3 yard line and the pros get the ball on the 2 yard line and have to get it across the goal line once again to score the extra 2 points.
Most teams will opt for kicking the ball for the extra point. But if a team is desperate for points or the game is tied, a team may decide to “go for two” in the hopes that the two extra points will get them closer to a win.
Field Goals - A field goal is a way for a team to gain points when they are just not quite able to get the touchdown. It is worth 3 points and is a lot like the PAT because it requires a kick through the uprights and over the crossbar of the goal post.
In most cases, a field goal is attempted when the team trying to score has only one more down to use before the other team gets the ball. ***Remember*** each team gets 4 chances to go 10 yards. If the team is close to the goal line (within 20 yards or so) but not close enough to score or get another first down, they may choose to attempt a field goal.
So how far does a kicker have to kick the ball to get it through the goal posts? Well, that depends…. Let’s say that Team A wanted a touchdown but they are 20 yards away from crossing the goal line and they are on their 4th down. Because the goal post is at the back of the end zone, this counts as 10 yards. When Team A snaps the ball to the player that holds the ball for the kicker to kick, they usually count about 7 yards for that. So….. Team A is 20 yards away from the goal line (on the 20 yard line) + 10 yards in the end zone + 7 yards for the snap = a 37 yard field goal attempt. For a kicker, this attempt will most likely be successful.
“The longest field goal in NFL history is 64 yards by Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos in 2013.
The longest field goal in NCAA history is 67 yards, accomplished four times, most recently by Tom Odle for Fort Hays State in 1988. The NCAA record for longest field goal without a tee and with the more-narrow modern goal posts is 65 yards by Martin Gramatica of Kansas State in 1998.
Nick Rose, a senior kicker for the University of Texas just obliterated all of those with an 80-yard field goal in practice.”
Safeties - A safety is one of the more uncommon ways to score in a football game. It is worth 2 points and typically occurs when the player with the ball gets tackled in his own end zone.
In other words, instead of moving forward down the field to score in his opponents end zone, the play keeps getting pushed back due to loss of yards. If the player with the ball gets tackled in his end zone or goes out of bounds in his end zone a safety will be called and the defensive side will get 2 points.
There are some other ways to score a safety but they are rare and complicated. I don’t want to confuse anyone more than they already may be! If you are confused, please let me know so I can try and explain in more detail.
Obviously scoring is the ultimate goal in a football game and one of the guys that makes scoring possible is the all important Quarterback! We are going to get down and dirty with the role of Quarterback next and talk about some of the nifty plays he makes in order to score. We will talk about why his role is so crucial and how every defense is out to get him!
**I have tried really hard to explain everything up to this point as simply as possible. If there is something that is not clear or you have further questions about, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me. I want to do the best I can to help anyone understand this crazy fun game of football. From here on out, it is going to get a bit more complicated so bear with me, and again, ask questions if there is something you don’t get.