Field goal range

Field goal range is the part of the field in American football where there is a good chance that a field goal attempt will be successful.

A field goal is normally 17 yards (7 yards in Canadian football) longer than the distance of the line of scrimmage to the goal line, as it includes the end zone (10 yards) and 7 yards to where the holder places the ball. In Canadian football, the goal posts are on the goal lines, in front of the end zones. Therefore, if the line of scrimmage is at the 30, the field goal would be 47 yards (in American football) or 37 yards (in Canadian football).

Average field goal range

The exact field goal range varies for each team, depending on the ability of the team's placekicker.[1] While some weaker placekickers may have trouble kicking field goals longer than 30 yards (making field goals from beyond the 13 difficult), others may consistently make 50-yarders, making it practical to kick from beyond the 33. For most NFL kickers, the 35-yard line is typically the limit of their field goal range.[2] Weather conditions, particularly wind, also have a significant impact on field goal range; kicking with the wind at the kicker's back significantly increases field goal range, while kicking against the wind or with a stiff crosswind will greatly reduce the kicker's effective range, while generally there is no advantage beyond assured targeting of a kick if a game is being played indoors. Altitude also affects kicking range; both the longest punt in NFL history and three of the longest field goals in NFL history took place in Denver, Colorado, which is more than 4,000 feet (1,200 m) higher in elevation than the next-highest NFL city (the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Arizona). From the 1970s through the 1990s, artificial turf improved a kicker's field goal range by having less friction during the kick; one of the reasons Scott Norwood missed the game-winning kick in Super Bowl XXV was that he kicked on artificial turf in Buffalo and struggled with longer field goals on natural grass throughout his career, and Super Bowl XXV was played on a grass surface. (Modern artificial turf, which has similar depth and characteristics to natural grass, does not have an appreciable effect on kicking range.)

In high school football, players are permitted to kick off special flat kicking tees up to two inches high. The NCAA banned the use of kicking tees in 1989. Most of the longer-range field goals in NCAA history were kicked prior to the elimination of tees; the use of tees allowed the ball to be elevated out of the field's grass or turf, reducing friction in the opening milliseconds of the kick and allowing for longer kicks.

Kicking versus punting

If a kicker is outside of field goal range, teams will generally punt. However, punting too close to the end zone increases the risk of a touchback, which nullifies most of the effect of the punt. Thus, teams who face a fourth down between the 35 and 40 yard lines (closer in a crosswind) often will go for the more risky fourth down conversion rather than risk either the touchback or the missed field goal.

Record holders

The longest field goal in recorded football history was 69 yards, set by collegiate kicker Ove Johansson, who was born in Sweden, in a 1976 Abilene Christian University football game against East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce) at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene.[3] The longest successful field goal in the NFL was 64 yards and was completed by Matt Prater in 2013. The NCAA record is 67 yards held by 3 kickers, Russell Erxleben of Texas, Steve Little of Arkansas and Joe Williams of Wichita State University. All three of those kickers achieved that feat in the 1977-1978 college seasons. Notably, Johansson, Erxleben and Little all failed dramatically when they entered the NFL— Johansson's failure was due to an injury, but the other two were first-round draft busts.

The CFL record is 62 yards held by Paul McCallum, the NFL preseason record 65 yards held by Ola Kimrin, the independent amateur record (as well as the record without the aid of a tee; tees are not allowed in the NFL and have been banned from NCAA since 1989) is 68 yards held by Fabrizio Scaccia, and the high school record 68 yards held by Dirk Borgognone; high school has wider goal posts and treats a field goal attempt that lands short in the field of play the same as a punt, making longer attempts much less risky. The indoor football record, with narrower and higher goal posts, is 63 yards (set by Aaron Mills), which is practically as long of a field goal as is possible in that variant of the sport, since the field in indoor football (including both end zones) is only 66 yards. Scaccia, while playing indoor football, attempted a 64-yard kick that was inches short of success, hitting the crossbar. Longer field goals have been attempted at times; the longest attempt in the NFL, which was well short and was kicked into the wind, was 76 yards, attempted by Sebastian Janikowski of the Oakland Raiders, in a September 28, 2008 game against the San Diego Chargers.

NFL Europe rewarded kickers that successfully kicked a field goal of longer than 50 yards with a bonus point, making such field goals worth 4 points instead of 3; this rule has since been adopted by the Stars Football League.

The shortest possible field goal under current strategies is slightly over 17 yards in American football and 8 yards in Canadian football (Canadian football requires the ball to be snapped at least one yard away from the end zone). Theoretically, a field goal could be attempted from a shorter distance as long as the holder stays behind the line of scrimmage (or via a drop kick at any point on the field), but in practice this has never happened.

Drop kicks

It has been surmised that a drop kick has a slightly longer range than the standard place kick, but since these kicks are so rare, that is not known for sure. During the early NFL era, this was generally true, and drop kicks were the norm for longer field goals; in fact, the first unofficial NFL record kick of 55 yards, set by Paddy Driscoll in 1924, was indeed set by drop kick. The football was shaped differently in that era, being changed to its modern, more narrow shape in 1935, so it is not reasonable to compare field goals from that era with the modern era, any more than it is reasonable to compare a kick with a rugby ball with an American football today.

The only successful drop kick in the NFL since the 1941 NFL Championship Game was by Doug Flutie, the backup quarterback of the New England Patriots, against the Miami Dolphins on January 1, 2006, for an extra point after a touchdown. Flutie had estimated "an 80 percent chance" of making the drop kick, which was called to give Flutie, 43 at the time, the opportunity to make a historic kick in his final NFL game, the drop kick being his last play in the NFL. After the game, New England coach Bill Belichick said, "I think Doug deserves it," and Flutie said, "I just thanked him for the opportunity." The kick was executed from 27 yards out (Flutie stood in a punter position, 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage). Drew Brees, a former teammate of Flutie's, attempted a drop-kicked extra point from the same position during the poorly received 2012 Pro Bowl; his kick, however, fell short.


  1. ^ Fantasy Football For Dummies - Martin Signore - Google Boeken. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  2. ^ The Complete Idiot's Guide to Football, 2nd Edition - Joe Theismann, Brian Tarcy, Brian Tarcy - Google Boeken. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-11-26. Retrieved 2015-11-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

1972 UCLA Bruins football team

The 1972 UCLA Bruins football team represented University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the 1972 college football season. Members of the Pacific-8 Conference, the Bruins were led by second-year head coach Pepper Rodgers and played their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The new quarterback this season was Mark Harmon, a junior college transfer and son of Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon. In his first game for the Bruins, Harmon led the wishbone offense and gained a late night upset of top-ranked Nebraska at the Coliseum. An 18-point underdog, UCLA was never behind; Nebraska had five turnovers but fought back to tie the score before halftime at ten and again early in the fourth quarter at seventeen. In their final drive, Harmon drove UCLA into field goal range and Efren Herrera made a 29-yarder in the final half minute for the 20–17 win. It halted the two-time defending national champion Huskers' unbeaten streak at 32 games and vaulted the previously unranked Bruins (2–7–1 in 1971) to eighth in the AP Poll, as Nebraska slid to tenth.

Two weeks later, the Bruins lost at home to Michigan, but then won six straight and improved to 8–1 overall. An upset loss to Washington at Husky Stadium in Seattle and an expected one to top-ranked rival USC in the Coliseum ended UCLA's season at 8–3. The Pac-8 runner-up, they were ranked fifteenth in the final AP poll; the conference did not allow a second bowl team until the 1975 season.

1983 Detroit Lions season

The 1983 Detroit Lions season was the 54th season in franchise history. Despite an awful 1-4 start, the Lions rallied to finish with a 9-7 record. They were able to rise to the top of a weak NFC Central, to claim their first division championship since 1957 and the first time the team had made the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since making it three straight years from 1960-1962. The Lions would not return to the postseason for another eight years.

The offense ranked 15th in the NFL in points scored, leaving the defense to carry the load. The Lions’ defense turned out to be the second-best in the league in points allowed, keyed defensive tackle Doug English and his 13 sacks. English was the team’s only Pro Bowler, though he also got some help from defensive end William Gay, who registered 13 ½ sacks of his own. In the NFC playoffs, the Lions lead the San Francisco 49ers late into the 4th Quarter, until Joe Montana drove the 49ers down the field for a 14-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Solomon to give the 49ers a 24–23 lead. The Lions would have a chance to win the game, as Gary Danielson drove them into field goal range, but placekicker Eddie Murray missed a 44-yard field goal with five seconds remaining.

2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl

The 2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl was a college football bowl game. It featured the Navy Midshipmen, and the Boston College Eagles. The game was played on Saturday, December 30, 2006, at 1:00 PM EST.

Boston College got on the board first following a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Matt Ryan. The extra point failed, and Boston College led 6-0. Navy quarterback, Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, known as a running quarterback, surprised BC by throwing a 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyree Barnes, to put Navy on top 7–6.

In the second quarter, Navy used its powerful option running attack, and Zerbin Singleton plowed five yards for a touchdown to increase Navy's lead to 14–6. Running back Brian Toal answered for Boston College with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 14–13. Kaheaku-Enhada once again threw a touchdown pass, this one covering 24 yards to Jason Tomlinson to increase Navy's lead to 21–13. With no time left in the half, kicker Steve Aponavicius drilled a 26-yard field goal, to cut the lead to 21–16.

In the third quarter, Navy was poised to score a touchdown, but BC's defense held strong, and forced a field goal. Matthew Harmon]connected on the 22-yard field goal to extend Navy's lead to 24–16. With 7:36 left in the fourth quarter, Ryan found tight end Ryan Purvis for a 25-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and Navy still led 24–22.

Navy had the ball, with 1:43 left in the game, and Boston College had no time outs left. On the next play, Reggie Campbell fumbled an option pitch, that was recovered by BC's Jo-Lonn Dunbar at the Navy 40-yard line. Ryan threw a 16-yard pass to Ryan Purvis to get BC into field goal range. Steve Aponavicius drilled a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give Boston College the 25–24 win. The win extended BC's streak of consecutive bowl wins to seven.

Fair catch kick

The fair catch kick is a rule at the professional and high school levels of American football that allows a team that has just made a fair catch to attempt a free kick from the spot of the catch. The kick must be either a place kick or a drop kick, and if it passes over the crossbar and between the goalposts of the defensive team's goal, a field goal, worth three points, is awarded to the offensive team.

The fair catch kick has its origins in rugby football. The rule is considered to be obscure and unusual, as most fair catches are made well out of field goal range, and in most cases a team that has a fair catch within theoretical range will attempt a normal drive to score a touchdown. The fair catch kick is generally used when a team has fair caught a ball within field goal range and there is insufficient time to score a touchdown. At the professional level, the last successful fair catch kick was made in 1976.

Red zone (gridiron football)

In gridiron football, the red zone is the area of the field between the 20-yard line and the goal line. The red zone has no official meaning during the process of playing the game and is not generally marked on the field (although some professional stadiums may have special striping for the 20-yard line). The term is mostly for statistical, psychological, and commercial advertising purposes (radio networks have been known to sell sponsorship of the red zone whenever the home team enters it). It is said to be a place where the chances of scoring are statistically higher.Being closer to the end zone, play while in the red zone involves closer cramping of the offense and defense. The short field of play means safeties have a smaller area to worry about defending, wide receivers do not have to run as far, and passes are not thrown as far. Though the distance to the goal line is less than other parts of the field, with all defenders being crammed into a smaller space and having less room to worry about defending, advancing the ball and ultimately scoring may be more difficult.This is less of a factor in Canadian football, where the end zones are significantly deeper and wider than in American football.

For all but the weakest amateur kickers, the red zone is universally within field goal range, assuring that points will be scored on a drive unless the team on offense commits a turnover. As a result, ball control is a greater priority in most red zone situations.

In the "Kansas Playoff" method of settling ties, play is generally confined to the red zone.

Tuck Rule Game

The 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders, also known as the Snow Bowl and the Tuck Rule Game, took place on January 19, 2002, at Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, the former home stadium of the Patriots. This was also the final game ever played at Foxboro Stadium, and was played under a heavy snowfall. The Patriots moved to Gillette Stadium the following season. To Raiders fans it is known as The New England Snow Job.The name Tuck Rule Game originates from the controversial game-changing play. In the play, Raiders' cornerback Charles Woodson sacked Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady, which in turn, initially appeared to cause a fumble that was eventually recovered by Raiders' linebacker Greg Biekert, and, if it was a fumble, would have almost certainly sealed the game for Oakland. Officials reviewed the play, and eventually determined that even though Brady had seemingly halted his passing motion and was attempting to "tuck" the ball back into his body, it was an incomplete pass and not a fumble under the then-effective NFL rules. As a result, the original call was overturned, and the ball was given back to the Patriots, who subsequently moved the ball into field goal range.

With under a minute remaining in regulation, Patriots' placekicker Adam Vinatieri kicked a 45-yard field goal to tie the game at 13, which sent the game into overtime. In the subsequent overtime, Vinatieri kicked a 23-yard field goal to win the game for the Patriots. New England went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI, beginning a run of championships with Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, appearing in nine and winning six to date.

Turnover on downs

In American football and Canadian football, a turnover on downs occurs when a team's offense has used all their downs but has not progressed downfield enough to earn another set of downs. The resulting turnover gives possession of the ball to the team on defense.

In American football, both indoor and outdoor, a team has four chances (each chance is called a "down") to gain at least ten yards or to score. Any ground gained during each down short of these ten yards is kept for the next chance, and any ground lost must be regained in addition to the ten yards. Thus, if a team gains four yards on first down, it then has three chances to gain the six remaining yards, and if a team loses four yards on first down then it must gain a total of fourteen yards over the next three chances. If a team gains the required ten yards, it receives another four downs to gain another ten yards (an event called a "first down") or cross the goal line for a score. The same principles apply in Canadian football, except that a team has only three chances to gain ten yards instead of four.

In the NFL, turnovers on downs are not counted as turnovers in statistics for either team; turnover statistics tally turnovers that occur during a play — namely, fumble recoveries and interceptions.

Levels of play
Play clock

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