In football, a touchdown is actually worth 6 points.
People who are new to the game often think it's worth 7 points, since that's the number that normally appears on the scoreboard after the kicker successfully converts.
However, that's an often misunderstood aspect of the game.
The actual touchdown itself is worth 6 points.
Then, the offense has a choice:
They can either attempt a place kick that rewards them another 1 point if successful... or they can attempt a "2 point conversion" that will give them an additional 2 points if they convert it.
You may ask why teams don't always attempt a 2 point conversion...
The simple answer is it's often easier to successfully convert a point after kick than it is a 2 point conversion.
The most common statistic is that teams successfully convert 2 point conversions at a rate of 40% to 55% worse than they do a point after kick attempts.
Let's take a closer look at what a 2 point conversion is, and I'll show you two sample plays teams could use for their attempts.
The 2 Point Conversion Explained
If the offense wants to try for a 2 point conversion, they have to notify the referee of their intentions following a touchdown.
When this happens, the referee will place the football at the opponent's 2-yard line.
The offense will have a choice as to exactly where they want to place the football -- either in the middle of the field, or on either the left or right hash mark.
The 2 point conversion will be an untimed down for the offense... meaning it will be run just like any other offensive play, except for it won't be timed.
The offense will get one and only one chance to convert the 2-point attempt.
The goal is to get the ball into the opponent's end zone successfully.
If they do, they will be awarded the extra 2 points on the scoreboard.
But if they don't, the attempt will end.
No matter whether the attempt is successful or not, the team that just scored the touchdown will then have to kick the ball off to the other team -- just as they do after they attempt a point after kick.
2 Point Conversion Plays
Here are two plays offenses can use to attempt a 2 point conversion.
One passing play and one running play.
a. Play Action
Because the offense only needs 2 yards to convert a successful 2 point conversion, many defenses predict the offense will go for a running play.
This may be true especially if the offense stacks the line of scrimmage with extra offensive linemen, or comes out with a tight formation.
This play will do that -- but then confuse the defense with a play action pass.
The formation will also keep the defense guessing as the quarterback starts in a shotgun formation.
Here's how it works:
The quarterback will line up in shotgun, with the running back about two yards directly behind him.
There will be five offensive linemen, plus a tight end lined up to the left side of the field.
To the right, another tight end will line up slightly off the line of scrimmage and to the right of the offensive tackle.
An X wide receiver will line up at the same depth off the line of scrimmage, but further out toward the sideline, while the Z wide receiver will line up between the two, but at the line of scrimmage.
At the snap, the quarterback will quickly turn to his right and fake a handoff to the running back.
All offensive linemen will slide to their right to block, attempting to fake out the defensive players.
The X and Z wide receivers will each run on direct diagonal routes to the left side of the field.
The tight end will run a more shallow direct diagonal route toward the near sideline -- in the opposite direction of the wide receivers.
Following the fake handoff, the quarterback will roll out to his right.
He'll look primarily for one of his open receivers to throw the ball to.
If no one is open, he'll also have the option to keep the ball and run into the end zone.
One of the keys to a successful 2 point conversion is some deception -- as you can see above.
This applies to run plays, too.
This play will be a misdirection run play in which the offense makes the defense think the run is going one direction, but then cuts back to the other side of the field.
Here's how it works:
This play will also start in shotgun formation to keep the defense guessing.
The offense will also spread the field more to show pass.
There will be five offensive linemen lined up tight.
The X wide receiver will line up wide to the left at the line of scrimmage, with a tight end (H) lined up on the same side but off the line of scrimmage.
To the right will be a Z wide receiver lined up wide but off the line of scrimmage and another tight end (Y) at the line of scrimmage.
The running back will be lined up about a yard behind the quarterback and slightly to his left.
At the snap, all four receivers will act as if they're running routes, but then block down on the defender opposite them.
All offensive linemen will block their targets to the right side of the field.
The right guard, though, will pull behind the line and turn upfield at the spot where the left offensive tackle was lined up. He'll serve as the lead blocker for the running back.
The running back will open up to his right and head that direction to take the handoff from the quarterback.
After getting the ball, he'll pivot and cut back to his left, following the pulling guard and trying to get across the goal line into the end zone.