The football rules in college football were changed a few years ago 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. Assume the field goal is attempted from the hash marks. At what yard marker does the kicker have maximum angle to the two uprights. Note: You will need to find out the width of the uprights and the width of the hash marks . . . make a sketchpad model. Is there any merit to some commentators argument to take a penalty in order to have a "better angle" on the field goal kick?
The Football Field:
Width: 53 1/3 yards or 160 feet
Distance from sideline to hash marks: 70 feet 9 inches
Width of goal posts: 18 feet 6 inches
A GSP SKETCH:
Using the facts we can see that 160 ft. - 70.75 ft. - 70.75 ft. = 18.5 ft. between the hash marks. This is the same distance as the length between the goal posts. Therefore, as the ball is moved further away from the endzone, the angle the kicker has to make the field goal gets smaller and smaller. Keep in mind that when a kicker positions himself on the field he lines up 7 yards behind the line of scrimage. Therefore, if the team had the ball just outside the goal line the closest the kicker could get would be on the 7 yard line. At no point is it going to be easier to make the kick by backing up due to taking a penalty. The only time the commentator may have any merit in such a suggestion is if the kicker has trouble kicking the ball ten feet into the air from a distance of 17+ yards away. For the kicker, the angle of opportunity will only get smaller as the ball is moved away from the goal posts.