Methods of Scoring in Football

Westover Scoreboard
Gerry Dincher/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

There are a variety of ways a football team can score points during a game. While touchdowns will score the most points, there are other methods that can help win the game.

Touchdowns in Football Scoring

The biggest goal for an offense every time they take possession of the ball is to score a touchdown. To score a touchdown, a player must carry the ball across the opposition's goal line, or catch a pass in the end zone. Once the ball crosses the plane of the goal line while it is in a player's possession, it is scored a touchdown. A touchdown is worth six points.


The team scoring a touchdown is given the bonus of trying to add one or two more points. These are called extra point conversion attempts.

If a team elects to go for two extra points, they will line up at the two-yard line and make one attempt at either running or passing the ball into the end zone. If they make it, they are awarded two points. If they don't, they get no extra points.

They can also elect to go for just one extra point by kicking the ball through the goal posts while snapping it from the two-yard line.

Field Goals

Another way for a team to score is by kicking a field goal. When a team finds themselves in a fourth-down situation, many times they will attempt to kick a field goal if they feel they are close enough for their kicker to kick the football between the upright bars of the goal post in the opponent's end zone. A field goal is worth three points.


A team can also pick up two points by tackling an opponent possessing the ball in his own end zone. This is called a safety.

Fair-Catch Kick

Perhaps the rarest way to score in football is on the little-used fair-catch kick. If a team fair catches a punt from the other team, they have the option of attempting a field goal on a free kick on the very next play from the spot the punt is fielded. The ball is kicked off the ground with the aid of a holder and is worth three points just like a regular field goal. The down is not timed.

To summarize:
Touchdown = 6 points
Extra Point Conversion = 1 point
Two-Point Conversion = 2 points
Field Goal = 3 points
Safety= 2 points