What Is a 2 Point Conversion in Football? A Detailed Guide

A college football player dives into the end zone to convert on a 2 point conversion.

If you’ve watched any football, chances are that you’ve witnessed a point after touchdown (PAT). These PATs are worth one point and are the preferred option for teams after scoring a touchdown. The other option available to teams is known as a 2 point conversion.

So, what is a 2 point conversion?

A 2 point conversion is a play that teams can attempt after scoring a touchdown. After a touchdown, the offense can choose between placing the ball on the 2-yard line and going for it or attempting a PAT. A 2 point conversion results in 2 points, while a PAT results in 1.

While it’s more common to see teams attempt PATs, 2 point conversion attempts have grown in popularity in recent years. Some coaches nowadays like going for two even when the scoreboard doesn’t call for it.

To learn more about how often 2 point conversions are attempted, their success rate, and much more – keep reading!

What Is a 2 Point Conversion in Football?

A two point conversion is a play that a team can attempt after scoring a touchdown. Instead of opting for the more common one point conversion by kicking the ball through the goalposts, a team may choose to go for a two point conversion to get two points. 

This play typically occurs under specific circumstances, such as when a team is trying to close a point gap in a tight game or add an extra layer of security to their lead.

A two point conversion begins from the opponent’s two-yard line, where the offensive team has only one chance to execute a successful play. The team can either pass or run the ball, but they must successfully get the ball into the end zone.

It is important to note that a two point conversion is an untimed down, which means it is not reflected in the game clock. This gives the offensive team the opportunity to focus on executing their play without the pressure of time constraints.

Although a two point conversion might seem tempting, the success rate varies greatly from the more traditional extra-point attempt.

When Was the 2 Point Conversion Implemented in the NFL?

The 2 point conversion was officially adopted by the NFL in 1994, bringing a significant rule change to the professional football landscape. This rule, initially introduced in college football in 1958, took some time to make its way into the NFL. 

The adoption of the two point conversion rule in professional football was largely influenced by the increasing dominance of kickers.

The rule states that after a touchdown, teams have the option to attempt a two point conversion. Instead of kicking the extra point for one point, they can choose to run or pass the ball into the end zone, earning two points if successful.

One notable player associated with the two point conversion is Tom Tupa. Nicknamed “Two Point Tupa,” he was the first player to successfully score a two point conversion in NFL history.

The former Cleveland Browns quarterback and punter achieved this historic feat during the first game of the 1994 season, just after the NFL’s adoption of the rule.

How Often Do Teams Attempt 2 Point Conversions?

A football team huddles before attempting their play.

In the NFL, two point conversions are an essential aspect of the game, affecting teams’ scoring strategies and outcomes. Although the frequency of attempts varies across NFL teams and seasons, a general snapshot of conversion rates can be observed.

During the 2018 and 2019 NFL seasons, teams successfully converted two point conversion attempts approximately 49.4 percent of the time. This rate of success contrasts with the one point PAT, which was made 94.1 percent of the time. 

Factors that influence the decision to attempt a two point conversion include the specific game situation, overall team strengths, and a team’s reliance on analytics.

While some NFL teams are more aggressive in attempting two point conversions, others stick to conventional methods. For instance, the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers notably pursue two point conversions more often than other NFL teams, with the Steelers surpassing the Eagles’ total of 26 attempts in a season.

In college football, the occurrence of two point conversions is slightly different. The rules allow teams to decide whether to attempt a one or two point conversion after each touchdown. Generally, two point conversion attempts are less frequent in college football compared to the NFL.

During college football overtime periods, the two point conversion becomes more prominent. Starting from the third overtime onwards, teams must attempt a two point conversion play after a touchdown, instead of the traditional extra point kick.

2 Point Conversion Success Rate


In the NFL, the success rate of two point conversions tends to vary between different teams and seasons. In 2018 and 2019, NFL teams converted about 49 percent of their two point attempts. Comparing this to the extra point kicks, the success rate for the latter was recorded at a higher 94.1 percent.

However, considering the points earned by each, the expected points from a kick would be 0.941 (1 point * 94.1%), while the expected points from going for two would be 0.988 (2 points * 49.4%). This suggests that, in the long run, NFL teams should consider attempting more two point conversions due to the slight increase in expected points.


In college football, the success rate of two point conversions can also greatly fluctuate across teams and seasons. Unlike the NFL, college football statistics for specific success rates are more difficult to find, as data often needs to be individually collected and computed from various collegiate divisions or conferences.

While the success rates of two point conversions in the NFL and NCAA may differ, both leagues showcase strategic decisions based around the likelihood of successfully completing a conversion attempt. Balancing these factors against the potential points gained can significantly impact the outcome of a game.

When Should Teams Go for 2 Point Conversions?

In the NFL, the decision to attempt a 2 point conversion is often a crucial turning point in the game. Generally speaking, coaches and teams should take into account analytics and factors like their current lead, time remaining, and win probability when deciding to go for a two point conversion.

Several situations warrant two point conversion tries. If a team scores a touchdown, resulting in a two point deficit late in the game, going for two is often the better choice. This strategy increases the chances of tying the game and possibly taking it to overtime.

Teams should also consider their position in the game and their potential impact on the opponent’s strategies. For instance, if a team is leading by 4, 8, or 11 points during the fourth quarter, attempting a two point conversion can be advantageous.

However, the question remains: when should teams employ this strategy? The ever-evolving field of analytics is playing an increasingly critical role in this decision-making process. 

Using data and models, coaches can better determine the probability of success in two point conversion attempts based on factors such as team performance, offensive and defensive capabilities, and recent play history.

Can the Defense Score on a 2 Point Conversion?

A college football player jogs into the end zone.

In the NFL, the defense has the opportunity to score during a two point conversion attempt by the offense. This can be done in a couple of ways: through an interception or by recovering a fumble. In both cases, the defensive team must return the ball to the opposite end zone to score two points.

The defensive team can also score one point for a safety on a two point conversion, although it is incredibly rare. This happens when the defense tackles the offensive player in their own end zone, resulting in a 99-yard safety.

Are there 2 Point Conversions in Youth Football?

Two point conversions are present in youth football, just as they are in professional leagues like the NFL. After scoring a touchdown, a team has the option to attempt a two point conversion instead of going for the standard extra point kick. 

In youth football, this option allows young players to develop and practice various offensive strategies while demonstrating their skills under pressure.

Two point conversions typically occur when a team needs to catch up, finds itself in a high-scoring game, or wants to build a larger lead. Since defenders usually anticipate a running play during a two point conversion attempt, play action plays are common.

Youth football leagues may have specific rules and policies concerning two point conversions, so it’s essential for coaches, players, and parents to familiarize themselves with their local league’s guidelines.

Can You Go for 2 in the Canadian Football League?

Two point conversions are in the Canadian Football League (CFL). In the CFL, teams have the option to attempt a two point conversion after scoring a touchdown, just as in American football. The rule for two point conversions in the CFL has been in place since 1975.

A two point conversion in the CFL involves the same process as in American football. The team that scored a touchdown is given the opportunity to score an additional two points by advancing the ball from the 3-yard line.

In the CFL, mandatory two point conversion attempts occur in the game’s overtime period. This is different from college football, where they are required only from the third overtime onwards. This rule promotes teams going for two points in an effort to end the game sooner in overtime.

What Is an Octopus?

An octopus in football is when the same player scores a touchdown and then successfully completes the ensuing two point conversion. Through the 2021 season, an octopus has occured 169 times. Some players stand out in achieving this milestone more than others.

For example, Baltimore Ravens’ tight end Mark Andrews has been dubbed the “King of the Octopus” for his proficiency in scoring touchdowns and converting two point conversions.

Steven G.

My name is Steven and I love everything sports! I created this website to share my passion with all of you. Enjoy!

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