Understanding Post-Touchdown Attempts in Football

Football is a sport filled with strategy, excitement, and a myriad of rules that keep fans on the edge of their seats. Among these, the post-touchdown attempt stands out as a crucial aspect of the game. Often, it is the difference between a win and a loss. This article delves into the intricacies of post-touchdown attempts, examining their significance, the strategies behind them, and notable moments in NFL history. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or new to the game, this comprehensive guide will enhance your understanding of one of football’s most thrilling elements.

The Basics of Post-Touchdown Attempts

What is a Post-Touchdown Attempt?

After a team scores a touchdown, they are given an opportunity to score additional points through a post-touchdown attempt. This can be done in two ways:

Extra Point Kick (Point After Touchdown – PAT): The team kicks the ball through the goalposts from the 15-yard line, earning 1 point.

Two-Point Conversion: The team attempts to get the ball into the end zone again from the 2-yard line, earning 2 points.

Why are Post-Touchdown Attempts Important?

These attempts can be pivotal in close games. A successful extra point can solidify a lead, while a two-point conversion can turn the tide of the game. Coaches often make strategic decisions based on the score, time remaining, and the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

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The History of Post-Touchdown Attempts


The concept of extra points dates back to the early days of football. Initially, the extra point was a standard part of the game, with teams kicking the ball for one point after scoring a touchdown. Over time, the two-point conversion was introduced to add a layer of strategy and excitement.

Evolution of Rules

In 2015, the NFL moved the line of scrimmage for extra point kicks from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line to make the attempt more challenging. This rule change aimed to increase the strategic importance of the post-touchdown attempt and make games more unpredictable.

Strategies Behind Post-Touchdown Attempts

Deciding Between One and Two Points

The decision to go for one or two points depends on several factors:

  • Score Differential: If a team needs more than one point to tie or win, they might opt for a two-point conversion.
  • Time Remaining: Late in the game, the score differential can dictate the strategy. A two-point attempt might be necessary to maximize scoring opportunities.
  • Team Strengths: Teams with strong running or passing offenses might favor the two-point conversion, while those with reliable kickers may opt for the PAT.

Execution of the Extra Point Kick

The extra point kick, though often seen as routine, requires precision. The snap, hold, and kick must be perfectly timed. Weather conditions, such as wind or rain, can also impact the success of the kick.

Executing the Two-Point Conversion

The two-point conversion is inherently riskier. Teams may use a variety of plays, including runs, passes, or trick plays. Success depends on the element of surprise, execution, and exploiting the defense’s weaknesses.

Notable Post-Touchdown Attempts in NFL History

The “Philly Special”

One of the most famous two-point conversions in recent history occurred during Super Bowl LII. The Philadelphia Eagles executed the “Philly Special,” a trick play that saw quarterback Nick Foles catch a touchdown pass. This bold move was pivotal in the Eagles’ victory over the New England Patriots.

The 2015 Rule Change Impact

The 2015 rule change moving the extra point kick to the 15-yard line led to an immediate impact. Teams began to miss extra points more frequently, leading to a higher number of two-point conversion attempts. This change has made post-touchdown attempts more exciting and unpredictable.

The Psychological Aspect of Post-Touchdown Attempts

Pressure on Kickers

Kickers often face immense pressure during extra point attempts, especially in high-stakes situations. The psychological challenge can impact performance, making even routine kicks a nerve-wracking experience.

Decision-Making for Coaches

Coaches must make quick decisions regarding post-touchdown attempts. These decisions are influenced by statistical analysis, game flow, and instinct. The pressure to make the right call can be immense, especially in close games.

The Role of Analytics in Post-Touchdown Attempts

Statistical Analysis

Modern football relies heavily on analytics. Teams use data to determine the likelihood of success for one-point versus two-point attempts. Factors such as team performance, opponent tendencies, and situational context are all analyzed to inform decisions.

Predictive Models

Predictive models help coaches make informed decisions. These models consider various scenarios and provide recommendations based on historical data. While not foolproof, they add a layer of objectivity to decision-making.

Impact on Game Outcomes

Turning the Tide

Post-touchdown attempts can dramatically alter the outcome of a game. A successful two-point conversion can erase a deficit, while a missed extra point can lead to an unexpected defeat. The strategic importance of these attempts cannot be overstated.

Memorable Game-Changing Moments

Throughout NFL history, there have been numerous game-changing post-touchdown attempts. From clutch kicks to daring conversions, these moments often become iconic highlights that fans remember for years.

The Future of Post-Touchdown Attempts

Potential Rule Changes

The NFL continually evaluates its rules to enhance the excitement and fairness of the game. Future rule changes could further impact post-touchdown attempts, potentially making them even more challenging and strategic.

Technological Advancements

Advancements in technology, such as improved video analysis and real-time data tracking, will continue to influence post-touchdown strategies. Teams will have access to more detailed information, enabling even more precise decision-making.


Post-touchdown attempts are a critical component of football, blending strategy, skill, and psychology. Whether it’s a routine extra point kick or a high-stakes two-point conversion, these plays can define the outcome of a game. Understanding the history, strategies, and impact of post-touchdown attempts enhances our appreciation for the complexity and excitement of football. As the sport continues to evolve, post-touchdown attempts will remain a focal point of both analysis and fan enjoyment.


What is a post-touchdown attempt in football?

A post-touchdown attempt is an opportunity for a team to score additional points after a touchdown, either through an extra point kick (1 point) or a two-point conversion (2 points).

 How has the 2015 rule change affected post-touchdown attempts?

The 2015 rule change moved the extra point kick to the 15-yard line, making it more challenging and increasing the frequency of two-point conversion attempts.

What factors influence a coach’s decision to go for one or two points?

Coaches consider the score differential, time remaining, team strengths, and statistical analysis when deciding between a one-point PAT or a two-point conversion.

Why are post-touchdown attempts important in football?

Post-touchdown attempts can significantly impact the outcome of a game, providing opportunities to extend a lead or close a gap in the score.

What are some memorable post-touchdown attempts in NFL history?

Notable moments include the “Philly Special” in Super Bowl LII and various game-changing attempts influenced by the 2015 rule change, which added excitement and unpredictability to the game.

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