If you are new to the game of football the scoring can be a little confusing. One question asked by many football newbies is “how many points is a touchdown worth?”.
In football when a touchdown is scored the scoring team will automatically be awarded six points. After they are awarded the six points they are given the option to go for one extra point or two extra points. This means the total points scored from a touchdown can be 6,7, or 8.
A one-point conversion is a short kick between the goalposts that will earn them one extra point making the total points earned seven.
A two-point conversion gives the offense one chance to get into the end zone from the two-yard line, if they are successful they are awarded two extra points. This brings the total points scored to eight.
The one-point conversion is the most common option chosen in football which is why touchdowns are often considered to be worth seven points.
Read on to get a full breakdown of the three different point totals a team can earn from scoring a touchdown.
Six Point Touchdown
When a team scores a touchdown and does not convert an extra point they will be awarded six points.
This is the least amount of points a team can be awarded after scoring a touchdown. A six-point touchdown only occurs when a team scores a touchdown and fail to convert either a one point or two-point conversion.
A failed one-point conversion occurs when the kicker fails to kick the ball between the uprights. If the ball goes wide or short of the uprights then the one point conversion has been failed.
This means the team will only get the six points earned for getting the touchdown.
A two-point conversion can also be unsuccessful if the team fails to get in the endzone on their one attempt from the two-yard line.
If they fail to get in the end zone on this attempt the conversion has failed and the team will only earn six points.
Seven Point Touchdown
Earning seven points from a touchdown is far and away the most common outcome of a touchdown. The reason for this is because one-point conversions after a touchdown have a high probability of being successful.
Since a one-point conversion is short kick teams are able to convert these one points conversions 92.4% of the time.
This means if a team is looking to get some points on the board the safe and consistent bet is to go for the one-point conversion.
Previously one-point conversions which are also referred to as point after touchdown (PAT) were kicked from an even closer distance.
A 2015 rule change moveed these kicks a little further back making it a little more difficult on the kicker. These rule changes increased the amount of failed kicks, but ultimately choosing to kick a one-point conversion is still the safe bet.
Eight Point Touchdown
The third and final point total that can come from a touchdown is eight points. An eight point touchdown is awarded when a team scores a touchdown and then successfully completes a two-point conversion.
On a two-point conversion, the offense will stay on the field after the touchdown and run a single play from the two-yard line.
If the offense is able to get into the endzone they are awarded two extra points. This brings the total points awarded to eight.
Two points conversions are successful about 50% of the time. This means that if you decide to go for a two-point conversion you will have a 50% chance of walking away with 6 points and 50% chance of walking away with 8.
In most cases, two points conversions are only used for a few specific in-game scenarios. One is when teams are losing the game and are looking to score a large number of points quickly.
The other is when a two-point conversion may change a one-score game into a two-score game. In this situation going for two points may give you a better statistical chance to win the game.
Other scoring plays in football
Now that we have covered how many points a touchdown is worth in football you may be wondering what other scoring plays are worth.
Aside from touchdowns field goals are the most common scoring play in football. When a team kicks a field goal in football they are going to be awarded three points.
Regardless of where the field goal is kicked from it is always going to be worth three points.
One scoring play that can only be achieved by the defense is a safety. A safety in football occurs when the defense is able to tackle an offensive player who has possession of the ball in their own endzone.
When a safety occurs the team who earned the safety will be awarded two points. The team on offense will also be forced to give possession of the ball to the opposing team.
Extra point scoring
As we mentioned earlier teams are able to score points after they get into the endzone for a touchdown.
There are two options which are to kick a one-point kick from a short distance. Or go for two points by scoring from the two-yard line in one attempt.
Interestingly though the defense is also able to score on these plays. If the defense is able to get the ball via a turnover and return it to the other team’s endzone they will earn two points.
They will only earn two points because that is how much the offense will score if they got into the endzone.
Additionally, the defense can also score a single point by achieving a safety on the point after play. If the defense can tackle the offense with the ball in their own endzone this will result in a single point for the defensive team.
To this point scoring a single point has not yet happened in the NFL.