Football: The Points of the Game

In one respect, football is similar to other games: the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Easy, right?

For the most part.

One thing I love about football is there is more than one way to get points on the board. And because of this, every single game is different.

It’s not like basketball where the only option you have is shooting the ball into the basket every time.

There 4 different point totals you can get at any time during a game:





Obviously, every team wants their points to come from touchdowns – and that makes sense because it means that their offense is able to get past the other team’s defense into the end zone (or it could come defensively, which is even more fun) and because touchdowns give you the most amount points in one shot.


A touchdown itself is worth 6 points. Typically, teams just go for the extra point kick (1 point) after scoring, making a touchdown + extra point worth 7 points.



There is always the option, though, for a team to “go for 2” instead.

A 2-point conversion also happens right after a team scores a touchdown, but it’s not just a kick into the uprights. That same team has to get into the end zone again by running another play. If they are successful, it gives them an extra 2 points, totaling 8 for their touchdown.

The 2-point conversion isn’t used very much – that extra point kick is what most teams go for after scoring, but the 2-point option is always nice to have if it can tie you up with the other team or if you want to be just point ahead if it’s a close game.

The only bad thing about “going for 2”? If you don’t get it, you’ve also lost your chance to kick the extra point so you’re left with just 6 points.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing – your team still scored a touchdown. But if it’s a close game, you want all the points you can get. Taking that chance sometimes works out…and sometimes it doesn’t.

Besides the touchdown/extra point (and sometimes 2 point conversion), the other most common way of getting points in a football game is to kick field goals.


It’s a good way to get points, but it’s also a good indicator of how the opposing defense is doing.

If a team has only kicked field goals in a game, that means they haven’t been able to get past the other team’s defense and into the end zone. A field goal is a kick into the uprights (typically anywhere from 10 – sometimes 50 + yards away) and that gives the kicking team 3 points.

There is one other way to get 2 points, which also doesn’t happen very often.

A safety.

What is a safety?

There are actually more ways to get those 2 points than I thought!

According to Wikipedia, the most reliable source ever  :),

Among the ways the defensive (non-possessing) team may score a safety are:

  • an opponent in possession of the ball is tackled in his own end zone;
  • an opponent in possession of the ball steps out of play (i.e., across the side line or end line) from his own end zone;
  • an opponent snaps, laterals, or fumbles the ball out of play in his own end zone;
  • an opponent fumbles the ball in the field of play and the loose ball touches the pylon of his own end zone;
  • an opponent downs (kneels or falls on) the ball in his own end zone (an intentional safety);
  • the opposing team has a punt or kick blocked, and the ball then goes out of play in their own end zone;
  • the opposing team commits certain penalties, such as intentional grounding or holding, in their own end zone.


Typically, if a team gets safety points at all, it comes from someone being tackled in the end zone, a bad snap of the ball, a fumble, or a blocked kick.


And those are fun to watch – as long as you’re the defense on that play!


Easy, right?

If not, I promise it gets easier if you’re actually watching some games. You don’t even have to watch entire games! Just watching parts of it will help you learn about the game so much faster than just reading about it.


Football this weekend!

12:00 PM ET
South Florida at No. 18 Florida State

12:00 PM ET
No. 22 North Carolina at Georgia Tech

12:00 PM ET
Indiana at No. 23 Michigan, ESPN2

3:30 PM ET
Arkansas at No. 3 Alabama

3:30 PM ET
No. 6 California at Oregon

3:30 PM ET
No. 9 Miami (FL) at No. 11 Virginia Tech

3:30 PM ET
Illinois at No. 13 Ohio State

6:00 PM ET
No. 1 Florida at Kentucky

8:00 PM ET
Iowa at No. 5 Penn State


Lots of good ones this weekend – Make your picks in the comments!


You  really didn’t hear about the girl who ate her ring? See the video here.


  1. Thank you for explaining that! I’ve never fully understood football!

  2. I am so going to have this post open during football games this weekend… and say things to make it sound like I know what I’m talking about! Ha ha. Thanks for these useful explanantions.

  3. Wow, you’re way more knowledgable on football than most people I’ve met, lol. I’m not a big college football fan, just the Pats is fine for me

  4. Thanks for the tutorial! I totally don’t get football, but I want to understand it better!
    Do you also like NFL, or just a college football fan? My school didn’t have a football team, so I never got into it. But for NFL, I support the Pats!

  5. I never knew there were so many ways to get a safety. I’ve only seen the most common.

    And you are right… the more you watch the more you understand. I was blessed to learn during High School football because I was in the band. The drumline taught me the rules and I’ve loved it since. My college best friend taught me more intricacies.

    Thanks for the fun!

  6. where were you last year when i was trying to understand football?!?!

  7. wow, you really know your stuff! i better read up on that, my dad is DIE hard patriots fan and I can impress him with your tutorial :)


  8. WHOA! You forgot my team (granted we’re playing UTEP) but still…UT Austin Longhorns tomorrow at 2:30!! Hook ’em horns!! Glad to know there’s another football fan out there.

  9. Girl this is the perfect post because i need this refresher for tomorrow. I’m going to the MICHIGAN vs. INDIANA game! yay! i’ll be thinkin of you :)

  10. i scrolled past all the football stuff to get to the food stuff but then it was ALL FOOTBALL! ugh. hahaha. at least i scored a video of the frosty ring girl! off to watch it now!

  11. HAHA – LOVE this post!!

    Clearly Miami and Iowa will both crush their opponents this weekend…I mean, clearly.

  12. Florida St., N. Carolina, Michigan, Alabama, California, Miami, Ohio St., Florida, Penn St

    The upset of the weekend came last night. What a game it was!

  13. Oh, USF and FSU, that’s going to be a good game here in FL. I don’t know who’s going to win because I haven’t been following the season so far, but we have a friendly family rivalry going. My sister and brother-in-law are bot graduates of FSU, and my brother is a current student at USF.

  14. Florida State
    North Carolina
    Ohio State
    Penn State

    I’ve seen that women who swallowed the ring story!

  15. I LOVED this! I absolutely despised football (gulp) until about 6 years ago. My high school football team stunk, college stunk (Indiana Unversity….we’re more basketball people!), and I just never understood it.

    THEN my dad explained the basics to me at a Colts game…and I’m HOOKED! I’m not lying when I say I go through a sort of Seasonal Affective Disorder in February when football is over. :-)

  16. You are too cute! Thanks for the tutorial! Where did you get all those fantastic pics? They are gorgeous. Nice job on the brekkie this morning, too. I hate to ask – but what are oatgroats again?

  17. My daughter needs this football lesson because she’s posing as a Philadelphia Eagles fan right now (it won’t last).

    And oh how I love the photos. Thank you for the photos of football player studly-ness. Uh huh.

  18. Hi Brandi!

    *StIlL WaItInG FoR SoMe ExCiTiNg NeWs*

    Florida State
    Georgia Tech
    Virginia Tech
    Ohio State
    Penn State

  19. I LOVE THIS POST! And I totally love football.

    I have yet to get into college football, I’m more about the NFL. But I’m thinking that I should start. Then I can have happy days on Saturday AND Sunday each weekend :)

    You rock!

  20. Im pretty sure if I should my boyfriend this post he will want to marry you. You are such a cool chick!

  21. Your game is going to be so intense this weekend! We play Miami next weekend, so you know I’ll be watching. Go Hokies!

  22. I was a football cheerleader for 6 years and I never understood 2 point conversions or safeties so thanks for enlightening me :)

  23. I am so in love with me right now, you have no idea. I know NOTHING about football, but it is so important to my boyfriend’s family!!! I’m saving this post and keeping it for future reference ;-)

  24. Pingback: pretty in pink « Salad.Diva

  25. By doing this, anyone avoid the cost of getting to buy several newspapers to
    make the most of good savings.

Comments are closed.