Presented By

Dana TeCroney

The football rules in college football were changed a few years ago and have made the uprights 5 feet narrower than previously. Many game commentators have harped about how much harder it is to kick field goals from the hash marks. Some commentators argue that you should take a penalty to improve the kicking angle.  Assume the field goal is attempted from the hash marks. Is there any merit to these commentators argument to take a penalty in order to have a "better angle" on the field goal kick?

Using GeometersŐ Sketchpad, the following angles were measured.  As you can see, when kicking from the hash mark, the angle gets worse contrary to some commentators beliefs.

Yard          Angle(o)

0                24.16

5                19.22

10              15.64

15              13.00

20              11.02

25              9.55

30              8.44

At what yard marker does the kicker have maximum angle to the two uprights (assuming the kick is from the hash)?  Well letŐs look at this from two points of view shall we?  First, the shortest field goal that is possible would from the seven yard line, which would result in a kicking angle of 17.61o.

If you look at the table above however, the angle does get better as you get closer, so if you take away the constraints of the rules of football, what would be the greatest kicking angle for a hash mark?  Again, using GSP, this angle can be estimated to about 27.00o.  If you would like to experiment with kicking angles, PRESS HERE.  As a disclaimer however, despite the kicking angle, there is no guarantee when Georgia is kicking field goalsÉ