Field goal

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Younghoe Koo (right) of the Atlanta Falcons attempts a field goal, while Cameron Nizialek (left) serves as the holder. Falcons 369.jpg
Younghoe Koo (right) of the Atlanta Falcons attempts a field goal, while Cameron Nizialek (left) serves as the holder.
A set of gridiron football goal posts--two uprights (vertical) and a crossbar (horizontal) Austrian Bowl 2013-011.JPG
A set of gridiron football goal posts—two uprights (vertical) and a crossbar (horizontal)

A field goal (FG) is a means of scoring in gridiron football. To score a field goal, the team in possession of the ball must place kick, or drop kick, the ball through the goal, i.e., between the uprights and over the crossbar. [1] The entire ball must pass through the vertical plane of the goal, which is the area above the crossbar and between the uprights or, if above the uprights, between their outside edges. [lower-alpha 1] American football requires that a field goal must only come during a play from scrimmage (except in the case of a fair catch kick) while Canadian football retains open field kicks and thus field goals may be scored at any time from anywhere on the field and by any player. The vast majority of field goals, in both codes, are placekicked. Drop-kicked field goals were common in the early days of gridiron football but are almost never attempted in modern times. A field goal may also be scored through a fair catch kick, but this is also extremely rare. In most leagues, a successful field goal awards three points (a notable exception is six-man football in which, due to the small number of players available to stop the opposing team from blocking the kick, a field goal is worth four points). [2]


Since a field goal is worth only three points, as opposed to a touchdown, which is worth six points, it is usually only attempted in specific situations (see Strategy).

The goal structure consists of a horizontal crossbar suspended 10 feet (3.0 m) above the ground, with two vertical goalposts 18 feet 6 inches (5.64 m) apart extending vertically from each end of the crossbar. [3] In American football, the goals are centered on each end line; in Canadian football, they are centered on each goal line.


As a field goal is worth only three points, while a touchdown scores at least six (which usually becomes seven with a successful conversion, and potentially eight with a two-point conversion), teams will generally attempt a field goal only in the following situations:

Except in desperate situations, a team will generally attempt field goals only when keeping a drive alive is unlikely, and its kicker has a significant chance of success, as a missed field goal results in a turnover at the spot of the kick (in the NFL) or at the line of scrimmage (in the NCAA). In American high school rules and Canadian football, where a missed field goal is treated the same as a punt, most teams still opt not to attempt field goals from very long range since field goal formations are not conducive to covering kick returns. Even under ideal conditions, the best professional kickers historically had difficulty making kicks longer than 50 yards consistently. [4] If a team chooses not to attempt a field goal on their last down, they can punt to the other team. A punt cannot score any points in American football unless the receiving team touches the ball first and the kicking team recovers it (though it can result in a single in Canadian football), but it may push the other team back toward its own end.

The longest field goal kick in NFL history is 66 yards, a record set by Justin Tucker on September 26, 2021, which broke the record previously held by Matt Prater (2013) at 64 yards. The third longest is 63, originally set by Tom Dempsey (1970) and then matched by Jason Elam (1998), Sebastian Janikowski (2011), David Akers (2012), Graham Gano (2018), and Brett Maher (2019). [5] The record in the CFL is 62 yards, set by Paul McCallum on October 27, 2001. [6] High school, college and most professional football leagues offer only a three-point field goal; however, some professional leagues have encouraged more rare kicks through four-point field goals. NFL Europe encouraged long field goals of 50 yards or more by making those worth four points instead of three (much like Australian rules' Super Goal or basketball's three-point line), a rule since adopted by the Stars Football League. Similarly, the sport of arena football sought (unsuccessfully) to repopularize the drop kick by making that worth four points; it failed since only one kicker (Brian Mitchell) was able to do it with any semblance of proficiency. (In six-man football, all field goals are worth four points instead of the usual three.) The overall field goal percentage during the 2010 NFL season was 82.3%. In comparison, Jan Stenerud, one of only three pure kickers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (along with fellow placekicker Morten Andersen and punter Ray Guy), had a career field goal percentage of 66.8% from 1967 to 1985. [4]

How field goals are kicked

Video of a successful field goal try.

When a team decides to attempt a field goal, it will generally line up in a very tight formation, with all but two players lined up along or near the line of scrimmage: the placekicker and the holder. The holder is usually the team's punter or backup quarterback.[ citation needed ] Instead of the regular center, a team may have a dedicated long snapper trained especially to snap the ball on placekick attempts and punts.

The holder usually lines up seven to eight yards behind the line of scrimmage, with the kicker a few yards behind him. Upon receiving the snap, the holder holds the ball against the ground vertically, with the stitches away from the kicker. The kicker begins his approach during the snap, so the snapper and holder have little margin for error. A split-second mistake can disrupt the entire attempt. Depending on the level of play, the ball, upon reaching the holder, is held up by either the aid of a small rubber "tee" (all ranks up to the high school level, which is not the same as the kickoff tee, but rather a small platform, and comes in either 1 or 2-inch varieties) or is held up by the ground (in college and at the professional level).

Dustin Hopkins of the Washington Redskins attempts a field goal against the Carolina Panthers in 2018 Dustin Hopkins (44604555784).jpg
Dustin Hopkins of the Washington Redskins attempts a field goal against the Carolina Panthers in 2018

The measurement of a field goal's distance is from the goalpost to the point where the ball was positioned for the kick by the holder. In American football, where the goalpost is located at the back of the end zone (above the end line), the ten yards of the end zone are added to the yard line distance at the spot of the hold.

Until the 1960s, placekickers approached the ball straight on, with the toe making first contact with the ball. The technique of kicking the ball "soccer-style", by approaching the ball at an angle and kicking it with the instep, was introduced by Hungarian-born kicker Pete Gogolak in the 1960s. [7] Reflecting his roots in European soccer, Gogolak observed that kicking the ball at an angle could cover more distance than kicking straight-on; he played college football at Cornell and made his pro debut in 1964 with the Buffalo Bills of the AFL; his younger brother Charlie was also an NFL kicker. The soccer-style kick gained popularity and was nearly universal by the late 1970s; the last full-time straight-on kicker in the NFL was Mark Moseley, who retired in 1986.

Successful field goals

If there is any time left in the half, the method of resuming play after a successful field goal varies between leagues.

National Football League and most professional leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association
The scored-against team receives a kickoff. [8] [9]
National Federation of High Schools
The scored-against team can choose to either receive a kickoff or kick off themselves. (In practice, almost all choose to receive.)
Canadian Football League
The scored-against team may elect to either kick off from their 30-yard line, receive a kickoff from the opponents' 30-yard line, or scrimmage from their own 40-yard line. In the last three minutes of the fourth quarter, the scoring team kicks off from their 30-yard line. [10] The option of scrimmaging (no kickoff), first instituted in 1975, was eliminated in 2009, but the change proved unpopular and was reinstated the following season.
Football Canada
The scored-against team may elect to either kick off from their 35-yard line, receive a kickoff from the opponent's 45-yard line, or scrimmage from their own 35-yard line. [11]

Missed field goals

A missed field goal is said to be "no good" if the kicked ball does not cross between the uprights and over the crossbar of the goal posts. If it misses to the side of the uprights, it may be called "wide left" or "wide right" as the case may be. A field goal attempt may be described as "short" if it does not have sufficient distance to go over the cross bar. Some commentators will only describe a field goal attempt as being short if it appears to have been aimed correctly while others will describe an attempt appearing to lack both accuracy and distance as being both wide and short.

If a field goal attempt is missed, and the ball does not go out of bounds and has not been ruled dead by a referee, then a defensive player may advance the ball, as with a punt or kickoff. This type of play usually occurs either during an extremely long field goal attempt or if the attempt is blocked. If there is a significant likelihood of a miss and the strategic game situation warrants it, the defense places a player downfield, in or near their end zone, to catch the ball. The risk in this is that the return man may be tackled deep in his own territory, at a considerably worse position than he could have gotten by letting the ball go dead (see below); furthermore, should the returner fumble the ball, the kicking team can recover it and gain a new set of downs (the advantage is that the kicking team is lined up very close together to stop kick blockers, and not spread across the field like a kickoff or punt team, and is therefore in poor position to defend the return). Thus, teams will usually return a kick only towards the end of a half (when the kick will be the final play) or in a particularly desperate situation.

If a ball caroms off one of the goal posts or the crossbar but lands in the field of play, the ball is considered dead and cannot be returned. (This is not the case in arena football, where large "rebound nets" surround the goal posts for the explicit purpose of keeping the ball in play.) However, if the ball continues into the goal after caroming, the score counts. If the ball re-enters the field of play after crossing the vertical plane of the goal, the score also counts; this is now known as the "Phil Dawson rule" after the eponymous player scored a game-tying field goal that rebounded off the back support of the goal and back into the field of play.

Situations where the defense does not return a missed field goal vary between leagues and levels of play:

National Football League
Missed field goals attempted from the defending team's 20-yard line or closer result in the defense taking possession at their 20-yard line. Missed field goals attempted from behind the 20-yard line result in the opposing team taking possession at the spot of the kick. (From 1974–1993, the opposing team would take possession at the line of scrimmage, unless the kick was attempted from inside the 20-yard line, in which case the opposing team would take possession at the 20-yard line. Prior to 1974, a missed field goal was treated the same as a punt, and the kicking team could down the ball in the field of play if it did not cross the goal line; if the unsuccessful attempt crossed the goal line, it was a touchback, unless the defense ran the ball out of the end zone, which did not become legal until 1971.)
The opposing team takes possession at the line of scrimmage rather than at the spot of the kick. If the line of scrimmage is inside the 20-yard line, the opposing team takes possession at the 20.[ citation needed ]
High school
Under NFHS (high school) rules (except Texas, which plays largely by NCAA rules), a field goal attempt is no different from any other scrimmage kick (punt, drop kick). If the field goal attempt is no good and enters the end zone it is a touchback (NFHS rules do not allow a scrimmage kick or free kick to be advanced if it crosses the goal line). If the ball becomes dead on the field the defensive team will next put the ball in play from that point. If a field goal is blocked behind the line of scrimmage either team may pick it up and return it (see below).
Canadian football
If the defense does not return a missed field goal out of the end zone, or if a missed field goal attempt goes out the back of end zone, then the kicking team scores a single point. This sometimes results in the team on defense stationing their punter behind the goal posts to punt the ball out of the end zone, in case of a missed field-goal attempt, to preserve a victory or tie. Also, a missed field goal may be played by any onside player on the kicking team (onside players being the kicker and anyone behind him at the time of the kick). It is risky to have anyone positioned behind the kicker when the ball is being kicked since those players would be unable to help prevent the defending players from blocking the kick; however, on occasion teams might intentionally miss a field goal in hope of recovering the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. Returning a missed field goal is much more likely in Canadian football than in American rules for a few reasons. First, since the goal posts are on the goal line in front of a 20-yard end zone (rather than at the back of a 10-yard end zone), a missed field goal is much less likely to go out of bounds while in the air. Also, not returning the ball out of the end zone results in the defense conceding a single point, which may be crucial in a close game. Moreover, the wider field of the Canadian game makes the average return longer (in terms of yardage). However, many Canadian football coaches judge that conceding a single and taking possession at the 35-yard line is preferable to returning a missed field goal and avoiding a single at the cost of poor field position.

Blocked field goals

The Fresno State Bulldogs block a Texas A&M field goal attempt. Fresno State Texas Aggies Blocked Kick.jpg
The Fresno State Bulldogs block a Texas A&M field goal attempt.

Occasionally, the defense will succeed in blocking a field goal. If the ball falls in or behind the neutral zone, it is treated like a fumble and can be advanced by either team. If the ball instead falls forward beyond the neutral zone, it is treated like a missed field goal under the rules explained above.


In the early days of football, kicking was emphasized. In 1883, the scoring system was devised with field goals counting for five points, and touchdowns and conversions worth four points. In 1897, the touchdown was raised to five points while the conversion was lowered to one point. (In 1958, the NCAA created the two-point conversion for conversions scored via run or pass; the NFL followed suit in 1994.) Field goals were devalued to four points in 1904, and then to the modern three points in 1909. The touchdown was changed to six points in 1912 in American football; the Canadian game followed suit in 1956.

The spot of the conversion has also changed through the years. In 1924, NCAA rules spotted the conversion at the 3-yard line, before moving it back to the 5-yard line in 1925. In 1929, the spot was moved up to the 2-yard line, matching the NFL. In 1968, the NCAA diverged from the NFL rules and moved the spot back to the original 3-yard line. Canadian rules originally spotted the conversion at the 5-yard line, which remains closer than in the American code (for kicked conversions) as the goalposts are at the front of the end zone.

In 2015, to make conversion kicks harder, the NFL and CFL moved the line of scrimmage for conversion kicks to the 15- and 25-yard lines, respectively. (The CFL also moved the spot for two-point conversion attempts to the 3-yard line, while then NFL remained at the 2-yard line.)

The goalposts were originally located on the goal line; this led to many injuries and sometimes interfered with play. The NCAA moved the goal posts to the rear of the end zone in 1927. The NFL (still following NCAA rules at the time) followed suit, but moved the posts back to the goal line starting in the 1932 NFL Playoff Game, a change made necessary by the size of the indoor Chicago Stadium and kept when the NFL rules stopped mirroring the NCAA rules in 1933. The NFL kept the goal posts at the goal line until 1974, when they were moved back to the rear of the end zone, where they have remained since. This was partly a result of the narrowed hashmark distance made in 1972 (making them the same width as the goalposts), which had made for easier field-goal angles. The Canadian game still has posts on the goal line.

The width of the goalposts and the hashmarks have also varied throughout the years. In 1959, the NCAA goalposts were widened to 23 feet 4 inches (7.11 m), the standard width for high school posts today. In 1991, the college goalposts were reduced in width to 18 ft 6 in (5.64 m), matching the NFL. For the 1991 and 1992 seasons, this meant potentially severe angles for short field goal attempts, since the hashmark width remained at 53 ft 4 in (16.26 m). In 1993, the NCAA narrowed the distance between the hashmarks to 40 ft (12.19 m), matching what was the width of hashmarks in the NFL from 1945 through 1971; as mentioned above, the NFL narrowed the hashmarks in 1972 to goalpost width at 18.5 feet (5.64 m). Canadian hash marks in amateur play are 51 feet (16 m) apart, 24 yards from each sideline. The Canadian Football League formerly used this spacing, but narrowed the hash mark spacing to 9 yards (8.2 m) in 2022. [12] The Canadian field is 195 feet (59 m) in width, 35 feet (11 m) wider than the American field.

The NFL increased the height of the uprights above the crossbar to 20 feet (6.10 m) in 1966 and 30 feet (9.14 m) in 1974. In 2014, they were raised five feet to 35 feet (10.67 m) after the adoption of a proposal by New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. [13]

The "slingshot" goalpost, having a single post curving 90° up from the ground to support the crossbar, was invented by Jim Trimble and Joel Rottman in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. [14] The first ones were built by Alcan and displayed at the Expo 67 [14] [15] world's fair in Montreal. The NFL had standardized its goalposts in 1966 and adopted the slingshot for the 1967 season. [14] The NCAA subsequently adopted the same rule, but later allowed the use of "offset" goalposts with the older two-post base. The CFL was the first league to use the slingshot goalposts. They debuted in the 2nd game of the CFL's Eastern Conference final in 1966 at Montreal's Autostade because Landsdowne Park (now TD Place Stadium), the home of Ottawa Rough Riders, was undergoing renovations. They were also used in the Grey Cup the next week at Vancouver's Empire Stadium. Three schools in Division I FBS currently use dual-support posts: Florida State, LSU, and Washington State. A special exemption was allowed by the NFL for the New Orleans Saints to use the offset goalposts during the 2005 season, when they used LSU's stadium for home games after Hurricane Katrina.

Goalposts at the professional level today are sometimes equipped with a video camera mounted to the stanchion immediately behind the center of the crossbar. Since these cameras are both above and slightly behind the crossbar, a field goal attempt will be judged good if it strikes this equipment.

A small plastic tee, which can be 1 to 2 inches (25–51 mm) high (smaller than the kickoff tee), may be used for field goals and extra points in some leagues, including US high schools and Canadian amateur play. The NFL (and most other professional leagues) has never allowed the use of tees for field goal kick attempts, having always required kickers to kick off the ground for such attempts (and for extra points; a rare exception for a U.S.-based pro league to allow the usage of such tees for such attempts was the original USFL in the 1980s). [16] [17] In 1948, the NCAA authorized the use of the small rubberized kicking tee for extra points and field goals, but banned them by 1989, requiring kicks from the ground, as in the NFL. [18] [19] The CFL allows the use of a tee for field goals and convert kicks, but it is optional. [20]

During the 2011 NFL season, a record 90 field goals of 50 yards or longer were made. [21] In 2012, this record was raised to 92 field goals of 50 yards or longer. [21]

Longest field goal records

According to the Guinness World Records, the longest recorded field goal successfully kicked at any level was 69 yards. It was kicked by Ove Johansson of the Abilene Christian University Wildcats in the 1976 game against East Texas State University Lions (now Texas A&M University–Commerce) in Shotwell Stadium, Abilene, Texas.


The longest successful field goal in NFL history was 66 yards by Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens against the Detroit Lions on September 26, 2021. [22] The longest field goal attempt in an NFL game was 76 yards by Sebastian Janikowski of the Oakland Raiders against the San Diego Chargers on September 28, 2008. [23]

66 yards Justin Tucker Baltimore Ravens 19–17 Detroit Lions September 26, 2021Right-footed; game-winning field goal as time expired; ball bounced off crossbar before crossing the plane. [22] Ford Field 601 ft (183 m) [24] Dome
64 yards Matt Prater Denver Broncos 51–28 Tennessee Titans December 8, 2013End of 1st half [25] Sports Authority Field at Mile High 5,200 ft (1,585 m)13 °F (−11 °C); Sunny; Wind: S at 3 mph; Humidity: 72%
63 yards Tom Dempsey New Orleans Saints 19–17 Detroit Lions November 8, 1970Born with a stub for a right foot. Game-winning kick as time expired. Detroit kicker Errol Mann had kicked a field goal with 0:11 remaining to give Lions the lead. Previous record was 56 yards in 1953. [26] Tulane Stadium 16 ft (5 m)65 degrees, relative humidity 79%, wind 10 mph
63 yards Jason Elam Denver Broncos 37–24 Jacksonville Jaguars October 25, 1998First field goal to tie record Mile High Stadium 5,200 ft (1,585 m)
63 yards Sebastian Janikowski Oakland Raiders 23–20 Denver Broncos September 12, 2011Left-footed Sports Authority Field at Mile High 5,200 ft (1,585 m)Light rain early
63 yards David Akers San Francisco 49ers 30–22 Green Bay Packers September 9, 2012Left-footed; end of first half; ball bounced off crossbar before crossing the plane Lambeau Field 640 ft (200 m)70 °F (21 °C); Mostly Cloudy; Wind: N at 7 mph; Humidity: 43%
63 yards Graham Gano Carolina Panthers 33–31 New York Giants October 7, 2018Game-winning field goal as time expired. Bank of America Stadium 751 ft (229 m)88 °F (31 °C); Mostly Sunny; Wind: E at 6 mph; Humidity: 59%
63 yards Brett Maher Dallas Cowboys 37–10 Philadelphia Eagles October 20, 2019End of 1st half AT&T Stadium 584 ft (179 m)
62 yards Matt Bryant Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23–21 Philadelphia Eagles October 22, 2006Game-winning kick as time expired Raymond James Stadium 35 ft (11 m)
62 yards Stephen Gostkowski New England Patriots 33–8 Oakland Raiders November 19, 2017Right-footed; kicked as time expired at the end of the first half Estadio Azteca 7,280 ft (2,220 m)63 °F (17 °C); Mostly Cloudy
62 yards Brett Maher Dallas Cowboys 29–23 (OT) Philadelphia Eagles December 9, 2018Right-footed; kicked as first half ended AT&T Stadium 567 ft

(173 m)

Retractable roof closed
62 yards Brett Maher Dallas Cowboys 22–24 New York Jets October 13, 2019Right-footed; kicked as first half ended MetLife Stadium 7 ft

(2 m)

64 °F (18 °C); mostly sunny; Wind: S at 7 mph; Humidity: 51%
62 yards Matt Prater Arizona Cardinals 34–33 Minnesota Vikings September 19, 2021Kicked as time expired at the end of the first half State Farm Stadium 1,150 ft (350 m)Retractable roof closed
62 yards Harrison Butker Kansas City Chiefs 20–24 Buffalo Bills October 16, 2022Tying kick as time expired at the end of the first half [27] Arrowhead Stadium 843 ft (257 m)66 °F (19 °C); Sunny with NW wind at 15 mph
62 yards Matt Prater Arizona Cardinals 28–16 Dallas Cowboys September 24, 2023Kicked as time expired at the end of the first half State Farm Stadium 1,150 ft (350 m)Retractable roof closed
61 yards Sebastian Janikowski Oakland Raiders 9–23 Cleveland Browns December 27, 2009Left-footed Cleveland Browns Stadium 580 ft (180 m)
61 yards Jay Feely Arizona Cardinals 16–19 (OT) Buffalo Bills October 14, 2012Right-footed; longest game-tying field goal with 1:09 remaining in the 4th quarter, missed a 38-yard field goal that would have won the game at the end of regulation University of Phoenix Stadium 1,150 ft (350 m)Retractable roof closed
61 yards Justin Tucker Baltimore Ravens 18–16 Detroit Lions December 16, 2013Right-footed; game-winning field goal with 43 seconds remaining; sixth field goal of the game Ford Field 601 ft (183 m) [24] Dome
61 yards Greg Zuerlein St. Louis Rams 18–21 (OT) Minnesota Vikings November 8, 2015Right-footed TCF Bank Stadium 869 ft (265 m)58 °F (14 °C); sunny
61 yards Jake Elliott Philadelphia Eagles 27–24 New York Giants September 24, 2017Right-footed; game winning kick as time expired. Second game of NFL career. NFL rookie record for longest made field goal. Lincoln Financial Field 39 ft (12 m)91 °F (33 °C); sunny
61 yards Jason Myers Seattle Seahawks 16–23 Los Angeles Rams November 15, 2020Right-footed; 4th & 10, 0:02 time remaining, end of first half SoFi Stadium Sea levelCalm
61 yards Ka'imi Fairbairn Houston Texans 13–33 Seattle Seahawks December 12, 2021Right-footed NRG Stadium 260 ft (79 m)
61 yards Greg Joseph Minnesota Vikings 27–24 New York Giants December 24, 2022Right-footed; game-winning kick as time expired. Longest field goal in Vikings franchise history. Third field goal of the season of more than 60 yards at U.S. Bank Stadium. U.S. Bank Stadium 840 ft (260 m)Dome
61 yards Jake Elliott Philadelphia Eagles 34-28 Minnesota Vikings September 14, 2023Right-footed; end of 1st half Lincoln Financial Field 39 ft (12 m)
60 yards Steve Cox Cleveland Browns 9–12 Cincinnati Bengals October 21, 1984Straight-ahead kick; on AstroTurf Riverfront Stadium 490 ft (150 m)
60 yards Morten Andersen New Orleans Saints 17–20 Chicago Bears October 27, 1991Left-footed; on AstroTurf; first 60-yard kick done indoors, as well as the first done with the soccer-style kick Louisiana Superdome Sea levelDome
60 yards Rob Bironas Tennessee Titans 20–17 Indianapolis Colts December 3, 2006Right-footed; game winner with six seconds remaining LP Field 400 ft (120 m)
60 yards Dan Carpenter Miami Dolphins 10–13 Cleveland Browns December 5, 2010End of 1st half Sun Life Stadium 5 ft (1.5 m)77 °F (25 °C), wind SW at 14 mph (23 km/h)
60 yards Greg Zuerlein St. Louis Rams 19–13 Seattle Seahawks September 30, 2012In his rookie season; longest field goal in third quarter; also kicked a 58-yard field goal in the first quarter Edward Jones Dome 466 ft (142 m)Dome
60 yards Chandler Catanzaro Arizona Cardinals 18–33 Buffalo Bills September 25, 2016Longest field goal in career New Era Field 600 ft (180 m)
60 yards Wil Lutz New Orleans Saints 25-28 Minnesota Vikings October 2, 2022Kicked with 1:56 left in fourth quarter. Later missed a game-tying 61-yard attempt that struck the left upright and then the crossbar as time expired. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 43 ft (13 m)
60 yards Brett Maher Dallas Cowboys 40-3 Minnesota Vikings November 20, 2022Made after initial make was called back due to review on previous play U.S. Bank Stadium 840 ft (260 m)Dome
60 yards Greg Zuerlein New York Jets 22–27 Minnesota Vikings December 4, 2022Right-footed; third career kick of more than 60 yards. Longest field goal in Jets franchise history. U.S. Bank Stadium 840 ft (260 m)Dome
60 yards Harrison Butker Kansas City Chiefs 19-8 Denver Broncos October 12, 2023Right-footed; Kicked as time expired at the end of the first half Arrowhead Stadium 843 ft (257 m)67 °F

(19.4 °C)


60 yards Brandon Aubrey Dallas Cowboys 33-13 Philadelphia Eagles December 10, 2023Right footed; kicked with 0:50 in first quarter. Later kicked a 59-yarder in the third quarter with 4:49 left; first kicker in NFL to kick more than 59 yards twice in the same game. [28] AT&T Stadium Dome

Prior to Dempsey's 1970 kick, the longest field goal in NFL history was 56 yards, by Bert Rechichar of the Baltimore Colts in 1953. [26] [29] A 55-yard field goal, achieved by a drop kick, was recorded by Paddy Driscoll in 1924, and stood as the unofficial record until that point; some sources indicate a 54-yarder by Glenn Presnell in 1934 as the record, [29] due to the inability to precisely verify Driscoll's kick.

In a pre-season NFL game between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks on August 29, 2002, Ola Kimrin kicked a 65-yard field goal. [30] However, because pre-season games are not counted toward official records, this accomplishment did not stand as the official record, even before Tucker bested it in 2021.


Professional spring football

College football

The following kicks were successful with the use of a kicking tee, which was banned by the NCAA after the 1988 season. And prior to 1991, the goal posts were 23 feet, 4 inches. They were narrowed to 18 feet, 6 inches. [38]

Overall69 yards Ove Johansson Abilene Christian East Texas State October 16, 1976Overall field goal record with the use of a tee
Division I FBS67 yards Russell Erxleben Texas Rice 1977
67 yards Steve Little Arkansas Texas 1977
Division I FCS63 yardsScott Roper Arkansas State North Texas 1987
Division II67 yardsTom Odle Fort Hays St Washburn November 5, 1988
Division III62 yardsDom Antonini Rowan Salisbury September 18, 1976
NAIA69 yards Ove Johansson Abilene Christian East Texas State October 16, 1976

After the 1988 season, the use of a kicking tee was banned. The following kicks were successful without the use of a tee.

Overall65 yards Martin Gramática Kansas State Northern Illinois September 12, 1998Overall NCAA field goal record without the use of a tee
Division I FBS65 yards Martin Gramática Kansas State Northern Illinois September 12, 1998Also the longest field goal since the NCAA narrowed the goalposts in 1991 [38]
Division I FCS63 yards Bill Gramática University of South Florida Austin Peay November 18, 2000
Division II64 yards Garrett Lindholm Tarleton State Texas A&M–Kingsville November 14, 2009The 64-yard field goal was made as time expired forcing overtime. Tarleton State went on to win the playoff game. [39]
Division III62 yardsMatthew Aven Claremont Cal Lutheran October 19, 2013
NAIA62 yardsDerek Doerfler Baker William Jewell October 8, 2007

The longest known drop-kicked field goal in college football was a 62-yard kick from Pat O'Dea, an Australian kicker who played for Wisconsin. O'Dea's kick took place in a blizzard against Northwestern on November 15, 1898. [40]

U Sports

The longest field goal in U Sports football history is 59 yards, by Niko Difonte of Calgary Dinos, playing against the UBC Thunderbirds on November 11, 2017. The field goal was the final and winning play of the 81st Hardy Cup. [41] [42]

High school

Independent amateur

Independent Women's Football League

Longest missed field goal return records


Field goal returns are rare in the NFL, since an attempt with sufficient distance that misses the uprights will automatically be dead. Returns are possible when a field goal is short, but in that case returners will usually down the ball so as to scrimmage from the spot of the kick. Normally, a return will only be attempted when there is not enough time left in the half to run a play from scrimmage. Nevertheless, the following five field goals have been returned for at least 107 yards in the 21st century (the record set by Antonio Cromartie in 2007, and later tied by Jamal Agnew in 2021, 109 yards, is also the maximum amount of yards that can be achieved on a scoring play):

Distance returnedReturnerTeamOpposing kickerOpposing teamDistance attemptedDateLocation
109 yards [51] Antonio Cromartie San Diego Chargers Ryan Longwell Minnesota Vikings 58 yardsNovember 4, 2007 Metrodome
109 yards [52] Jamal Agnew Jacksonville Jaguars Matt Prater Arizona Cardinals 68 yardsSeptember 26, 2021 TIAA Bank Field
108 yards [53] Devin Hester Chicago Bears Jay Feely New York Giants 52 yardsNovember 12, 2006 Giants Stadium
108 yards [54] Nathan Vasher Chicago Bears Joe Nedney San Francisco 49ers 52 yardsNovember 13, 2005 Soldier Field
107 yards [55] Chris McAlister Baltimore Ravens Jason Elam Denver Broncos 57 yardsSeptember 30, 2002 Ravens Stadium


Because the goalposts in Canadian football are on the goal line, and because downing the ball in the end zone results in the kicking team scoring a single point, field goal returns are much more common. The longest missed field goal return in the CFL is 131 total yards. Against the Montreal Alouettes on August 22, 1958, the Toronto Argonauts' Boyd Carter ran 15 yards, then threw a lateral to Dave Mann, who then returned it for the final 116 yards. [56] This return, which started 21 yards behind the goal line, was during the era of 25-yard end zones (which made the maximum theoretical missed field return distance 134 yards in those days) and therefore cannot be met or exceeded on the modern field with 20-yard end zones. Since the shortening of the end zones in the CFL in 1986, a field goal has been returned for the maximum 129 yards on four occasions: by Bashir Levingston of the Toronto Argonauts on June 28, 2007, [57] by Dominique Dorsey also of the Toronto Argonauts on August 2, 2007, [58] by Tristan Jackson of the Saskatchewan Roughriders on July 14, 2012 [59] and by Trent Guy of the Montreal Alouettes on September 23, 2012. [60]


In NCAA college football, only five missed field goals returns for touchdowns have ever been returned 100 yards or more: [61]

U Sports

In U Sports football, like in the CFL, the longest possible missed field goal return is 129 yards, and this has occurred three times. [42]

See also


  1. An exception applies with respect to goalposts that have a remote-controlled camera mounted on top of the crossbar, often now used in nationally televised games. A field goal attempt will still be considered good if the ball strikes such a camera instead of passing over the crossbar.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Canadian football</span> Canadian team sport

Canadian football, or simply football, is a sport in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete on a field 110 yards (101 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide, attempting to advance a pointed oval-shaped ball into the opposing team's end zone.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Touchdown</span> Means of scoring in both American and Canadian football

A touchdown is a scoring play in gridiron football. Scoring a touchdown grants the team that scored it 6 points. Whether running, passing, returning a kickoff or punt, or recovering a turnover, a team scores a touchdown by advancing the football into the opponent's end zone. More specifically, a touchdown is when a player is in possession of the ball, any part of the ball is in the end zone they are attacking, and the player is not down.

In American football, a touchback is a ruling that is made and signaled by an official when the ball becomes dead on or behind a team's own goal line and the opposing team gave the ball the momentum, or impetus, to travel over or across the goal line but did not have possession of the ball when it became dead. Since the 2018 season, touchbacks have also been awarded in college football on kickoffs that end in a fair catch by the receiving team between its own 25-yard line and goal line. In the 2023 season, the NFL adopted the same rules as college football in regards to awarding touchbacks on kickoffs that end in a fair catch. In 2024, the NFL moved the placement of the ball after a touchback on a kickoff to the receiving team's 30-yard line; this was part of a radical change to the league's kickoff procedure. Such impetus may be imparted by a kick, pass, fumble, or in certain instances by batting the ball. A touchback is not a play, but a result of events that may occur during a play. A touchback is the opposite of a safety with regard to impetus since a safety is scored when the ball becomes dead in a team's end zone after that team — the team whose end zone it is — caused the ball to cross the goal line.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Comparison of American and Canadian football</span> Differences between the two most common types of gridiron football

American and Canadian football are gridiron codes of football that are very similar; both have their origins partly in rugby football, but some key differences exist between the two codes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Single (football)</span> One-point score in Canadian football

In Canadian football, a single is a one-point score that is awarded for certain plays that involve the ball being kicked into the end zone and not returned from it.

Strategy is a major part of American football.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">American football rules</span>

Gameplay in American football consists of a series of downs, individual plays of short duration, outside of which the ball is or is not in play. These can be plays from scrimmage – passes, runs, punts or field goal attempts – or free kicks such as kickoffs and fair catch kicks. Substitutions can be made between downs, which allows for a great deal of specialization as coaches choose the players best suited for each particular situation. During a play, each team should have no more than 11 players on the field, and each of them has specific tasks assigned for that specific play.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fair catch kick</span> American football rule regarding attempting free kicks after fair catches

The fair catch kick is a rule at the professional and high school levels of American football that allows a team that has just made a fair catch to attempt a free kick from the spot of the catch. The kick must be either a place kick or a drop kick, and if it passes over the crossbar and between the goalposts of the opposing team's goal, a field goal, worth three points, is awarded to the kicking team.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kickoff (gridiron football)</span> Method of starting a drive in gridiron football

A kickoff is a method of starting a drive in gridiron football. Additionally, it may refer to a kickoff time, the scheduled time of the first kickoff of a game. Typically, a kickoff consists of one team – the "kicking team" – kicking the ball to the opposing team – the "receiving team". The receiving team is then entitled to return the ball, i.e., attempt to advance it towards the kicking team's end zone, until the player with the ball is tackled by the kicking team, goes out of bounds, scores a touchdown, or the play is otherwise ruled dead. Kickoffs take place at the start of each half of play, the beginning of overtime in some overtime formats, and after scoring plays.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Safety (gridiron football score)</span> Scoring play in gridiron football

In gridiron football, the safety or safety touch is a scoring play that results in two points being awarded to the scoring team. Safeties can be scored in a number of ways, such as when a ball carrier is tackled in his own end zone or when a foul is committed by the offense in its own end zone. After a safety is scored in American football, the ball is kicked off to the team that scored the safety from the 20-yard line; in Canadian football, the scoring team also has the options of taking control of the ball at its own 35-yard line or kicking off the ball, also at its own 35-yard line. The ability of the scoring team to receive the ball through a kickoff differs from the touchdown and field goal, which require the scoring team to kick the ball off to the scored-upon team. Despite being of relatively low point value, safeties can have a significant impact on the result of games, and Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats estimated that safeties have a greater abstract value than field goals, despite being worth a point less, due to the field position and reclaimed possession gained off the safety kick.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Comparison of American football and rugby union</span>

A comparison of American football and rugby union is possible because of the games' shared origins, despite their dissimilarities.

A comparison between American football and rugby league is possible because of their shared origins and similar game concepts. Rugby league is arguably the most similar sport to American football after Canadian football: both sports involve the concept of a limited number of downs/tackles and scoring touchdowns/tries takes clear precedence over goal-kicking.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Return specialist</span> American/Canadian football player who specializes in kick returns

A return specialist or kick returner is a player on the special teams unit of a gridiron football team who specializes in returning punts and kickoffs. There are few players who are exclusively return specialists; most also play another position such as wide receiver, defensive back, or running back. The special teams counterpart of a return specialist is a kicking specialist.

All-purpose yards or all-purpose yardage is a gridiron football statistical measure. It is virtually the same as the statistic that some football leagues refer to as combined net yards. In the game of football, progress is measured by advancing the football towards the opposing team's goal line. Progress can be made during play by the offensive team by advancing the ball from its point of progress at the start of play known as the line of scrimmage or by the defensive team after taking possession of the football via a change of possession. When the offensive team advances the ball by rushing the football, the player who carries the ball is given credit for the difference in progress measured in rushing yards. When the offensive team advances the ball by pass reception, the player who catches the reception is given credit for the difference in progress measured in reception yards. Although the ball may also be advanced by penalty, these yards are not considered all-purpose yards. Progress lost via quarterback sacks is classified variously. Thus, all-purpose yards is a combined total of rushing yards, receiving yards, and all forms of return yards only. Some sources do not specify which types of return yards count toward this total because the most common forms of return yards are kick and punt return yards.

The following terms are used in American football, both conventional and indoor. Some of these terms are also in use in Canadian football; for a list of terms unique to that code, see Glossary of Canadian football.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Two-point conversion</span> Play in American and Canadian football

In gridiron football, a two-point conversion or two-point convert is a play a team attempts instead of kicking a one-point conversion immediately after it scores a touchdown. In a two-point conversion attempt, the team that just scored must run a play from scrimmage close to the opponent's goal line and advance the ball across the goal line in the same manner as if they were scoring a touchdown. If the team succeeds, it earns two additional points in addition to the six points for the touchdown, for a total of eight points. If the team fails, no additional points are scored.

Field goal range is the part of the field in American football where there is a good chance that a field goal attempt will be successful.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Punt (gridiron football)</span> Kick downfield to the opposing team in gridiron football

In gridiron football, a punt is a kick performed by dropping the ball from the hands and then kicking the ball before it hits the ground. The most common use of this tactic is to punt the ball downfield to the opposing team, usually on the final down, with the hope of giving the receiving team a field position that is more advantageous to the kicking team when possession changes. The result of a typical punt, barring any penalties or extraordinary circumstances, is a first down for the receiving team. A punt is not to be confused with a drop kick, a kick after the ball hits the ground, now rare in both American and Canadian football.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Conversion (gridiron football)</span> Football scoring play

The conversion, try, also known as a point(s) after touchdown, PAT, extra point, two-point conversion, or convert is a gridiron football play that occurs immediately after a touchdown. The scoring team attempts to score one extra point by kicking the ball through the uprights in the manner of a field goal, or two points by passing or running the ball into the end zone in the manner of a touchdown.


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