Two-Point Conversion in Football

Running back Mark Ingram #22 of the New Orleans Saints scores on a two-point conversion
Running back Mark Ingram #22 of the New Orleans Saints scores on a two-point conversion. Jeff Gross/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

A two-point conversion is a scoring play, occurring immediately after a touchdown, in which a team can add two bonus points by running or passing the ball into the end zone on one play starting from the opponent's two-yard line. A two-point conversion is attempted by the team that just scored a touchdown instead of kicking a one-point extra point after a touchdown.

If the team is successful in converting a two-point conversion, it earns two additional points in addition to the six they previously earned for the touchdown, bringing their point total for the possession to eight.

If the team fails at the two-point conversion attempt, no additional points are scored, and the team remains at six total points for the possession. Regardless of the success of the play, after the two-point conversion attempt, the scoring team kicks the ball off to the opposition.

History

The two-point conversion was originally introduced in 1958, when it began to be used in college football. Despite the plays use in college ball, it was not immediately adapted in professional football. In fact, the two-point conversion rule was not officially adapted by the NFL until 1994.

Tom Tupa of the Cleveland Browns scored the first two-point conversion in NFL history in a 1994 week one game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

In college football, two-point conversion attempts begin on an opponent’s three-yard line. In the NFL, two-point conversion attempts begin on an opponent’s two-yard line.

Two-point Attempts

Two-point conversion attempts are usually situationally dependent.

Teams down by a lot of points and trying to make a comeback will often opt for two-point conversion attempts, as will teams looking to create some scoring space between themselves and the opponent. For instance, a team who is up by five points after a touchdown will often up for a two-point conversion attempt in order to increase their lead to seven, rather than six which could be bested with a touchdown and easy extra point conversion.

Two-Point Conversion Chart

The two-point conversion chart was developed to help coaches determine if they should attempt a two-point conversion, or simply settle for an extra-point conversion based on the current score of the game. The chart was initially developed by Dick Vermeil while coaching at UCLA in the 1970s.

 

LEAD BY

TRAIL BY

1 pointGo for 21 pointGo for 2
2 pointsGo for 12 pointsGo for 2
3 pointsGo for 13 pointsGo for 1
4 pointsGo for 24 pointsDecision
5 pointsGo for 25 pointsGo for 2
6 pointsGo for 16 pointsGo for 1
7 pointsGo for 17 pointsGo for 1
8 pointsGo for 18 pointsGo for 1
9 pointsGo for 19 pointsGo for 2
10 pointsGo for 110 pointsGo for 1
11 pointsGo for 111 pointsGo for 2
12 pointsGo for 212 pointsGo for 2
13 pointsGo for 113 pointsGo for 1
14 pointsGo for 114 pointsGo for 1
15 pointsGo for 215 pointsGo for 1
16 pointsGo for 116 pointsGo for 2
17 pointsGo for 117 pointsGo for 1
18 pointsGo for 118 pointsGo for 1
19 pointsGo for 219 pointsGo for 2
20 pointsGo for 120 pointsGo for 1

 

An example of how to use this term in a sentence would be: The home team was down by sixteen in the fourth quarter, so after they scored they decided to attempt a two-point conversion.