Field goal

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A field goal attempt in Texas A&M college football against The Citadel, 2006 season

A field goal ( FG ) describes in American football or Canadian football a win of three points by the attacking team by kicking the football standing on the ground with the foot over the crossbar through the goal posts.


Video of a successful field goal attempt from the 3-yard line.

In Canadian football, a field goal is allowed on every move, with two exceptions. It is not allowed to score a field goal directly during a kickoff or after an accepted safety , even if this would be possible from long distances.

In American football, a field goal is only allowed from "play from scrimmage" and only as long as the ball is on the offense side. To achieve a field goal, both a place kick from the ground and a so-called drop kick from the player's hand are allowed, in which the ball is shot immediately after it touches the ground (English: to drop), the latter variant with the introduction of the changed standardization of the ball in 1934 with the new very pointed ends, it has become difficult and therefore rare.

A field goal is valid when the ball crosses the goal above the crossbar and between the two posts, including the area between the imaginary extension of the posts upwards. The ball must not come into contact with the field of play after the kick and before passing the goal, but touching the crossbar or the post is permitted. The defense can attempt to block a field goal at or behind the line of scrimmage . A defense at goal height, similar to a goalkeeper in other sports, is, however, not permitted and hardly possible.

In general, field goals are attempted after the third down (American football) or second down (Canadian football), since a further attack attempt carries the risk of a turnover on downs .

American football

Defense players (No. 59, 95) try to block the field goal of the kicker (39)

In American football, a field goal is usually attempted by the attacking team at distances of less than about 45 yards (approx. 41 meters) if they make their fourth and last attempt ( 4th down ) in the ongoing attack , as a field goal is transformed relatively safely from these distances. The distance of a field goal attempt is calculated in American football from the depth of the end zone (10 yards; the goal posts have been behind the end line for several decades, earlier in front of it) plus the distance from the end zone to the line of scrimmage, as well as the usually 7 –8 yards that the ball holder kneels further back, where he holds the ball on the floor with his fingertip. This distance is necessary so that the football flies over the hands of the opposing players jumping up and trying to block the kick. If the attacking team still has 25 yards to the end zone, the field goal attempt would i. d. R. from (25 + 10 + 7) 42 yards. In Germany, the existing soccer fields are divided into 12 equally sized sections between the goals, which are therefore rarely exactly 10 yards wide. The longest successful field goal attempt was in the National Football League (NFL) over a distance of 64 yards (established in 2013 by Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos ). In college football , the record is 69 yards because the ball could be kicked from a 5 cm high stand ( kicking tee ) until the 1970s . A field goal is worth three points in modern American football. There was an exception in the now defunct NFL Europe . There it was possible to score four points with a field goal that was scored from a distance of more than 50 yards. A point after touchdown (PAT) that is executed immediately after a touchdown , like a field goal with a kick, is worth one point.

If the ball misses the goal when attempting a field goal, the opposing team comes into possession of the ball on the previous line of scrimmage in accordance with the rules of the NCAA, in the NFL at the place of the kick. For this reason, defense teams make little effort to catch a ball that is kicked a little too short, as it is difficult to carry the ball out of the end zone back to the line of scrimmage at all. Nevertheless, Antonio Cromartie of the San Diego Chargers succeeded on November 4, 2007, at the end of the game before half-time, a too short field goal attempt by Minnesota's kicker Ryan Longwell over a distance of 109 yards from their own into the opposing end zone to one Bear touchdown back. It was the furthest move in NFL history .

Canadian football

Basically the same rules apply in Canadian football, and again, a successful field goal is worth three points. It should be noted that the goal posts are not at the end, but at the beginning of the end zone, on the goal line, so that e.g. For example, a 40-yard field goal in American football would correspond to a 30-yard field goal in Canadian football. The longest successful attempt in the CFL was made from 62 yards. In contrast to American football, Canadian football has two special rules:

  • Single / Rouge : If the football does not fly through the goal posts, but reaches the end zone (or the ball crosses the end zone and then goes out) without being carried back into the field by the opposing team or kicked back, the player who kicks it gets Team a single (English) or Rouge (French), which is worth one point. Bringing a missed shot back into the field may require a lot of space, as the end zone is twice as deep as in American football (20 yards instead of 10 yards). Therefore it can happen that the defending team does not kick or run out and instead gives the opponent a point and prefers possession of the ball (at the 35 yard line) than risking losing the ball with a rash action. If the kicking team recaptures the ball in the end zone, it scores a touchdown.
  • New first down : In Canadian football there is the possibility that the kicker kicks the football to a teammate as a trick play ("fake field goal") and your team gets a new first down for it. For this, the kick must be min. Go 10 yards forward and the catching player must not have been in front of the kicker at the time of the kick.

Field goal leap

One way to prevent the field goal is to jump over the offensive line. This move, known as Field Goal Leap, was banned by the National Football League and the NCAA college league for the 2017 season because the risk of injury is high for both the jumper and the skipped.

Individual evidence

  1. Chargers cornerback's return longest play in NFL history
  2. This CFL onside kick on a field goal is the craziest football play in a while. The Comeback, accessed May 5, 2018 .
  3. ^ NFL bans leaping on field goals, extra points. Retrieved March 30, 2017 (English).
  4. NCAA bans hurdling line to block field goals. Retrieved February 16, 2018 .