Investigations of a Field Goal

Karyn Carson

ItÕs 4^{th}
down and the ball is on the 10 yard line.
Coach Richt has decided to kick a field goal rather than go for the
touchdown. Can he improve
the odds of the kicker making the field goal by taking a 5 yard delay of game
penalty? He decides to look at a
model of the field to find the difference in angle measure between the 10 yard
hash mark and the 15 yard hash mark.

Of
course, the best situation would be if the football were in the middle of the
field, but as this rarely happens, weÕre just going to look at the field goal
being made from the hash mark, which is 60 feet from the sidelines.

Using the
football field model below (1 in : 10 yd), then we see that if the ball is on
the 10 yard line, then the angle of opportunity (an angle created from the
kicker and the goal post uprights) is 16.04 degrees.

However,
if we move the ball back to the 15 yard mark, as in the Coach Richt situation
above, the angle of opportunity becomes 13.33 degrees.

As you
move farther away from the field goal, the angle for the field goal becomes
smaller.

Coach
Richt should not take a delay of game penalty as the resulting 5 yard loss
would produce an almost 3 degree loss in the angle of opportunity.