NFL Goal Post Rules

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Over the years, the National Football League goal post has undergone many changes. These changes range from the size and width to its location on the field. As the sport evolved, the rules that govern the goal post have changed as well. Although change has occurred, many of these modifications have made the sport much better and safer for athletes to play the game.

Height

  • The NFL has strict rules regarding the height of an official goal post. According to the NFL, a goal post must extend a minimum of 20 feet above the crossbar. Including the height of the crossbar, the NFL goal post is a minimum of 30 feet from the ground.

Width

  • The crossbar, which is the horizontal bar that connects the two uprights, is 18 feet 6 inches wide. This is also the case for a college goal post. The high school goal post is considerably wider, at 24 feet 4 inches.

Location

  • In 1974, the goal post was moved from the goal line to the end line, located 10 yards farther back. The goal post is located approximately 80 feet from the sidelines and in back of the end zone, which is 10 yards deep.

Type of Goal Post

  • Goal posts must be single-standard type, offset from the end line and painted bright gold. This style goal must have a 4 inch by 42 inch ribbon attached to the top of the post. These ribbons or wind directors help the kicker know what direction the wind is blowing and how hard it is blowing. The goal post is made to withstand stressful weather and not rust. The goal post also has been designed to support the weight of a number of individuals in order to prevent injuries from overzealous spectators who might attempt to climb the goal post in celebration.

History

  • The goal post was originally set at the back of the end zone. In 1933, the goal post was moved to the goal line. To make the goal post more visible, the NFL changed the rule again to offset the goal posts from the goal line and paint them bright yellow for visibility purposes. The last position change took place in 1974, when the goal post was moved back to the end line. This was done for several reasons. It forced the game's ever-improving kickers to make longer field goals while also protecting players who occasionally ran into the post near the goal line. Today's teams have the option of getting a portable goal post or mounted post. Many of the portable goal posts can be wheeled down or up in a matter of seconds.

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  • Photo Credit Football field goal post image by ryasick from Fotolia.com
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