What is the field goal over the uprights rule in NFL?

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens

In the NFL, you can score by means of a field goal. If a kicker successfully kicks the ball through the goal post, then it is termed as a field goal. There are two goal posts in the field are placed on the end line behind the end zones of each team. A goal post consists of two parts: crossbar and upright.

In the NFL, the uprights have two vertical bars attached to the crossbar. The crossbar is a horizontal bar attached to the base of the goalpost. To score a field goal, the team in possession of the ball must drop a kick or place a kick above the crossbar or between the two upright bars.


The goal is only counted if the ball completely passes through the vertical plane of the goal. If the ball touches the upright or the crossbar and falls behind it, then it will be considered a goal.

However, if the ball bounces back into the field of play then it will be a dead ball and no points will be alloted to the team in possession of the ball.

What is the rule for kicking the ball above the uprights?

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders

The distance between the two uprights above the crossbars is 18 feet 6 inches. The height of the crossbar is 20 ft. What happens if the ball goes right above the uprights?

Although the height of the uprights is limited to 20 feet, the NFL rule states that uprights legally extend upwards. So, if the ball goes beyond the height of the uprights, even then it would be considered a goal.

NFL field goals records

In 2021, Justin Tucker broke Matt Prater's previous record of 64 yards with 66-yards field goals against the Detroit Lions.


Just one week before Tucker achieved this feat, Prater scored 62-yards field goals against the Vikings. Matt Prater has been named twice in the top 10 list of the longest field goals in the NFL.

Tucker has the longest field goal to his name but has an unbroken NCAA record since 1976. On October 16, 1976, Albine Christian's Ove Johansson scored a 69-yard field goals against East Texas State.

Edited by Hans Themistode
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