Why not go for a field goal attempt instead of a punt in some situations?


The strategic answer to the main question is: Field Position

Please see this article: https://www.football.com/en-us/charting-the-importance-of-field-position/

Basically, as you get farther away from the goal posts, the chances of successfully making the kick get lower and lower. As you can see in the linked article, as you get better and better starting field position, the chances of you scoring get higher and higher. Also a key factor here is that on a field goal, if you miss the field goal and the other team does not decide to return it, the other team gets the ball (their starting field position) on your previous line of scrimmage.

So putting all of those things together, it is a much smarter strategic move to give up on the chance for 3 points, given the possible negatives, but instead use a punt to "pin your opponent deep" and give them very bad starting field position (optimally at their own 10 yard line or less.) Their odds of scoring are lower, and...

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Whenever an offense reaches the 4th down in American Football, i.e. they didn't achieve to get a new 1st down in their past 3 attempts, they're faced with basically 2 fundamentally different options. They can either play that down as a "normal" offensive play in order to reach a new 1st down, or they can either punt the ball or attempt a field goal, depending how far they are from the end zone.

The usual strategy is to settle for a punt or field goal, unless the situation is rather urgent (i.e. you can't risk giving your opponent the offense) and/or you're confident you can make a new 1st down. What I haven't ever seen in the NFL (although, I'm only following it rather actively for about 2 seasons) is a faked field goal attempt or punt and I wonder if this is even possible. What I mean is making the play look like a field goal/punt, i.e. putting the special team and kicker on the field, and then having the kicker actually run (or pass?) the ball instead, trying to make a...

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If the offense attempts a field goal before fourth down and misses, the ball is turned over to the defending team. Rule 11, Section 4, Article 2 of the NFL rulebook:

Missed Field Goals. If there is a missed field-goal attempt, and the ball has not been touched by the receivers beyond the line in the field of play, the following shall apply:

(a) If the spot of the kick was inside the receivers’ 20-yard line, it is the receivers’ ball at the 20-yard line or

(b) If the spot of the kick was from the receivers’ 20-yard line or beyond the receivers’ 20-yard line, it is the receivers’ ball at the spot of the kick.

Note: These options apply only if the ball has been beyond the line.

For the wording here, the receiving team is the defense (the team that is receiving the kick). If the kicker misses the field goal on first, second, or third down, the ball is turned over to the opposing team. The kicking team does not get additional attempts. This is why...

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Eh... Yeah, but very much no...

As Cody already mentioned, a "drop kick" may be executed to convert an extra point or a FG. This looks similar to a punt; however, the ball must hit the ground first before kicking it to be considered a drop kick.

So, technically, you could line up to punt the ball, have it hit the ground first, then kick it, and if it goes through the uprights, it would be a FG.

This will probably never ever ever happen. But, if you want to know what it might look like, Doug Flutie made a drop kick for the New England Patriots:

If a conventional punt goes through the uprights, it will not result in points. A kickoff that goes through the uprights will not result in points either. Both will be considered touchbacks, the ball will be placed at the 20-yard line, and possession will change to the other...

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In American and Canadian football, a punt is a drop 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.

The type of punt leads to different motion of the football. Alex Moffat invented the now-common spiral punt, as opposed end-over-end.


A punt in gridiron football is a drop kick performed by dropping the ball from the hands and then kicking the ball before it hits the ground. In football, the offense has a limited number of downs, or plays, in which to move the ball at least ten yards. The team in possession of the ball will...

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Field goal has to originate from a kick off the ground, so a punt through the uprights cannot be counted as a field goal, only a touchback.There is such a thing as a "drop-kick" That is legal, but rarely used.

In both American football and Canadian football, one method of scoring a field goal or extra point is by drop-kicking the football through the goal.

The drop kick was often used in early football as a surprise tactic. The ball would be snapped or lateraled to a back, who would perhaps fake a run or pass, but then would kick the field goal instead.

This method of scoring worked well in the 1920s and 1930s, when the football was rounder at the ends (similar to a modern rugby ball). Early football stars such as Jim Thorpe and Paddy Driscoll were skilled drop-kickers.

In 1934, the ball was made more pointed at the ends. This made passing the ball easier, as was its intent, but made the drop kick obsolete, as the more pointed ball did not bounce up from the...

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By and

Even the boldest N.F.L. coaches can turn timid on fourth down. When a team fails to pick up enough yards on third down, coaches are faced with a few options. They can decide to kick the ball (by either punting or attempting a field goal) or they can decide to go for it. Going for it is risky – if they fail, they risk ridicule by every TV analyst, armchair quarterback and cabdriver in the country. Kicking is the safe, more conventional choice.

But is it the right one?

That’s where NYT 4th Down Bot comes in. It evaluates whether an N.F.L. team should punt, attempt a field goal or go for it on fourth down, in any situation. To make its decision, NYT 4th Down Bot uses a model developed by Brian Burke, founder of AdvancedNFLStats.com. According to the model (and thus, according to NYT 4th Down Bot), coaches are much more conservative than they should be.

NYT 4th Down Bot works on the premise that for most of the game, a coach should be trying to...

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