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