What is an extra point in football?

An extra point in football refers to a team lining up to score one or two points after a touchdown. One extra point is earned via a short kick. While two extra points are earned if the offense can reach the endzone in one attempt from the two-yard line.

Extra points in football are attempted after every touchdown. The vast majority of the time teams attempt to get a single extra point. The extra point itself is often referred to as the PAT which stands for point after attempt.

Extra points are usually not the most exciting plays as teams tend to go for one point easily convert the kick. For this reason the NFL has added rules in order to make the extra point a little more exciting.

One Point Conversion

The most common type of extra point in football is the one point conversion. A one point conversion is equivalent to kicking a thirty three yard field goal.

At this distance, NFL kickers were able to convert one point conversions 92.1% of the time.

Previously the distance for extra point kicks was much shorter. A single point conversion was previously equivalent to a twenty-yard field goal. At this time kickers were almost automatic when it came to extra points.

The line of scrimmage on extra point kicks was then moved back to the fifteen yard to make it more difficult. This may sound close but there are few factors that need to be taken into account.

The kicker himself will stand seven or eight yards back from the line of scrimmage which makes the kick much longer. The uprights themselves are located at the back of the endzone.

Since the endzone is ten yards deep this means that you can tack on another ten yards to the kicking distance. This results in an NFL extra point being equivalent to a 33-yard field goal.

Two-Point Conversion

The other option that teams have when going for an extra point is to go for two. Two-point conversions are relatively risky as they are converted successfully just under fifty percent of the time.

On a two-point conversion the offense can attempt to get the ball into the endzone by any means necessary. Since they are on the two-yard line teams will often run the ball on these players in order to get the ball into the endzone.

If the opposing team gets a penalty the odds the offense goes for two on the extra point is much higher. A penalty against the defense would move the offense half the distance to the goal.

This would start the play at the one-yard line. Attempting a two-point conversion from the one-yard line has a noticeably higher rate of success. For this reason, teams will often go for two if they are stating the play on the one-yard line.

Two Point Return

One interesting aspect of extra points in football is that the defense actually has an opportunity to score. If the defense is able to generate a turnover on an extra point they are able to return the ball to the endzone for two points.

On single point extra points the defense will look to block the field goal for a chance to generate a turnover.

When facing a two-point conversion the defense will have to hope for a huge interception or fumble return in order to score some points.

Two point returns are incredibly rare on extra points but when they occur they are very exciting.

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