They often say defense wins championships, but you can’t win football games without an effective offensive attack. While field goals are a way to get on the board, there’s nothing more satisfying and electrifying for a football team than scoring a touchdown.
So, how many points is a touchdown worth?
Touchdowns are worth six points and result in the highest amount of points a football team can earn in one play. Once a touchdown is scored, the offense has the opportunity to kick an extra point or “go for two”, which is why touchdowns often result in either seven or eight points.
There are a lot of ways a team can score a touchdown, but they’ll all result in the same amount of points. What happens after the touchdown is up to the coaching staff, who either decides to bring their kicker out for an extra point or to keep the offense on the field and go for two.
How to Score a Touchdown in Football
If you’re running with the ball, the only thing that needs to cross the goal line is the ball (just part of it), as long as your feet stay inbounds. If you’re catching the ball in the end zone, both feet need to touch the ground inbounds while you have possession of the ball.
Once either of those is met, the offense is awarded six points and has the opportunity to kick an extra point or go for two.
The defense can also score a touchdown if they recover a fumble or intercept a pass. At that point, the offensive and defensive roles switch. Since the defense now has the ball, they’re the offense and must get the ball across the goal line.
If they don’t, they still get the ball back — they just have to let their offense finish the job.
Touchdowns can be scored by any player on the football team, though the quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers bring in a majority of them.
How Extra Points Work in Football
When deciding between kicking an extra point and going for two after scoring a touchdown, coaches almost always elect to go with the extra point. Pre-2015, it was always the easiest point in football and was as close to a guarantee as you get in the sport.
That’s because, before 2015, the ball was placed on the 2-yard line for extra points (and two-point conversions). This made the ensuing extra point an easy 20-yard field goal, which most kickers view as a chip shot.
In 2015, the NFL made a major rule change that moved the ball back to the 15-yard line for extra points. This made the ensuing extra point a 33-yard field goal, which isn’t as easy for kickers to hit.
For example, only half of all NFL teams converted on above 95% of their extra points and only four of them finished at 100% in 2019. For comparison, 26 teams finished at 100% in 2014 and the six teams that didn’t were all above 95% (except for one, who was at 94.29%).
If you look at 2013 numbers, they’re even better.
When an extra point is missed, the team that scored a touchdown only receives six points. If the extra point is blocked or a botched snap occurs and the defense recovers the ball, they can return it the opposite way and receive two points (like a safety) — not six points like a touchdown.
Coaches that want to stay efficient need to be careful when deciding to go for extra points. Many games are decided by one or two points, so the decision is crucial for any coach.
In some cases, they might be better off going for two.
When an extra point is made, the team that just scored the touchdown must kick the ball off to the other team, allowing them to answer with a touchdown of their own.
In this situation, the ball is placed on the 35-yard line and the kicker must kick it to the opposite end of the field.
What Is a Two-Point Conversion in Football?
A two-point conversion occurs when the coach decides to keep his offense on the field following a touchdown or brings the offense on the field after the defense scores a touchdown, instead of kicking an extra point.
For a two-point conversion, the ball is placed on the two-yard line.
The offense only has one opportunity to get the ball across the goal line, unless the defense is called for a penalty. If they get the ball in the end zone, the same way you would score a touchdown, then they’re awarded two points instead of one.
The offense needs to be careful, though. If they throw an interception or fumble the ball during a two-point conversion, the defense has the opportunity to return the ball the opposite way for two points — just like an extra point.
While the quarterback generally has the ball with his offense during a two-point conversion, the offense may elect to send out the kicking team with the intention of faking the extra point.
This is extremely rare, largely because it’s easier to score from the 2-yard line than the 15-yard line (actually 23 yards from the kicker’s position).
Whether a two-point conversion is missed or made, the team that attempted it must kick-off to the opposite end of the field — the same way you would after a missed or made extra point.
How Many Points Are Touchdowns in Fantasy Football?
When you’re not physically playing football, there’s nothing better than playing fantasy football. It makes the NFL much more interesting, especially when you’re watching teams you don’t really care about.
At the same time, it adds a level of confusion due to the scoring system that is used.
While touchdowns reward six points in real life, whether it’s a passing, offensive, or defensive touchdown, that’s only the case with rushing, catching, and defensive touchdowns in fantasy football.
When a touchdown is thrown, either by the quarterback or any other player on the team, the passer is awarded just 4 points.
This can get confusing because a quarterback can throw for a touchdown and receive 4 points, but also rush for a touchdown and receive 6 points.
That’s why it’s always best to find a quarterback that can both throw well and run often because they’ll rack up points for you all over the field.
In addition to receiving points for throwing touchdowns, receivers (in most leagues) earn one point per 10 yards gained — some leagues do 0.1 points for every yard, that way it’s more accurate.
The same goes for running backs, who earn one point for every 10 yards of rushing or 0.1 points for every yard.
Even more than that, some leagues give receivers an extra point for catching the ball. These are pass per reception leagues, often coined as ‘PPR’ leagues.
Quarterbacks, however, receive one point for every 25 passing yards. This is because most quarterbacks throw anywhere from 200-300 yards per game, which would make the point system seem lopsided.