Investigations of a Field Goal

Karyn Carson

ItÕs 4th 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.

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