The Physics
Factbook
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

# Length of a Football Field (American)

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Standardized
Result
Safonov, Alexei. Physics 218 [ppt]. University of California. "1 football field = 100 yards" 91.44 m
(without end zones)
Beginner's Guide to Football. NFL Enterprises, 2008. "The field measures 100 yards long and 53 yards wide." 91.44 m
(without end zones)
"Football." The Wonderland of Knowledge. 6th ed. Wonderland of Knowledge Corporation, 1954. "The game is played on a field 100 yards long and 160 feet wide." 91.44 m
(without end zones)
NFL Football Field Dimensions Diagram. SportsKnowHow, 2004. "Length:360 feet or 120 yards
Width: 160 feet of 53 ⅓ yards"
109.73 m
(with end zones)
Stern, Hal S. American Football [pdf]. Department of Statistics, University of California, Irvine. December 24, 1997 "American football, which we shall call football from this point on, is played by two teams on a field 100 yards long with each team defending one of the two ends of the field (called goal lines)." 91.44 m
(without end zones)

"Let's get a football game started." If you were to say that to a European, holding a pigskin (another name for a football), they might look at you funny: just as you would look at them if they came to you holding a soccer ball. The reason for this is that although the word may be the same, its meaning is totally different. To American football is a word we all know; referring to a sport where 22 guys in uniform try to get the football past the opposing teams goal line. However, in Europe football is actually played with your feet and you try to kick the ball into the other teams net: We like to call that "soccer".

In America, the rules of football are pretty complicated. You get four downs (or chances) to progress every 10 yards (9.1 m); which is easier said than done. If you fail to do so, the ball is turned over to the other team and they make a go for your goal line. It becomes pretty difficult to score when you have 11 steroid induced men running at you with the intention of knocking you to the ground. However, if you do happen to score, that is called a touchdown awarding you six points and a chance for a seventh which is acquired through goal kick.

The field on which this enticing game is played is: 100 yards (91.4 m) long and 160 feet (48.8 m) wide plus 10 yards (9.1 m) on each end for the end zones. The position where you catch the ball (usually near your goal line) to the opposing goal line is a long way to go, and with the ovoid shape of the ball it becomes extremely difficult to regain possession once it has been lost because the ball bounces around in every which way.

For those who can follow, the game is exhilarating both to watch and play. As for those who can't, there's always golf.

Aleksandr Rozovskiy -- 2008

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Standardized
Result
Theismann, Joe & Tarcy, Brian. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Football Like a Pro. New York: Alpha Books, 1997. "The playing field is rectangle -- 360 feet in length and 160 feet in width -- a big rectangle." 109.7 m
(w/end zone)
91.4 m
(w/o end zone)
White, Jess R. Sports Rules Encyclopedia. Champaign, 1990. "The game is played on a rectangular field 160 feet wide and 360 feet long with a 10 yard end zone designated at each end of the field." 109.7 m
(w/end zone)
91.4 m
(w/o end zone)
The Book of Rules: a visual guide to the laws of every commonly played sport and game. New York: Duncan Petersen, 1998. "Rectangular. 100 yards long plus two 10-yard end zones (Bringing the total length to 120 yards). The field is 160 feet wide. Bounded by sidelines and endlines." 109.7 m
(w/end zone)
91.4 m
(w/o end zone)
Rules of the Game. New York: Paddington: 1974. [diagram] 109.8 m
(w/end zone)
91.5 m
(w/o end zone)
Football. Columbia Encyclopedia. Sixth Edition. 2001. "The American game is played by two opposing teams of eleven. The football field is level, measures 100 by 53 1/3 yd (91.4 by 48.8 m), is marked off by latitudinal stripes every 5 yds (4.57 m) and has at each end an end zone 10 yd (9.14 m) deep." 109.7 m
(w/end zone)
91.4 m
(w/o end zone)

When you hear the word football, what do you think about? A bunch of short skinny guys running around, trying to kick a round ball into a huge goal and ending up in a one-one tie? If you're an American, football means something more, much more. Twenty-two enormous guys wearing helmets and shoulder pads running at each other at full speed and colliding with a huge bang. That's what Americans think when they hear the word football, not that boring sport England calls football.

Scoring in football is not easy. Your offensive team of eleven has four chances to gain 10 yards. If you gain the ten yards, you get another four chances to earn ten yards, until you either give the ball up to the other team, or score the six points. Football has many complicated rules, and for many, is impossible to understand and enjoy. But for those who do understand and love the game, they can tell you football is not just any sport. It's rough, tough, and most of the time, extremely violent.

The rectangular field is 160 feet (48.5 m) wide and 360 feet (109.1 m) in length (53.3 yards, 120 yards respectively), including the two 10 yard (9.2 m) end zones. If you know the rules of the game, then you should know how hard it is to gain just one yard. Grasping onto the oval pebble-grained leather pigskin, you attempt to push your team closer to the end zone. If you think it's so easy to gain a yard or two, suit up and try to get past eleven gigantic testosterone driven men who are gunning for the man with the ball. Even if you have enough guts to attempt this, just try to hold onto the football when you get pummeled into the ground. The 14 to 15 ounces (392 to 420 g) Football seems easy to handle, but as soon as you lose your grip and the ball is tumbling around the floor, you'd be surprised how hard it is to pick up. The standard measurements are long axis, 11 to 11¼ inches (27.5 to 28.1 cm); long circumference, 28 to 28½ inches (70 to 71.25 cm). That distinctive football shape makes it impossible to predict where the ball is headed to next. Football is not a sport for everyone. It's a love or hate deal.

Nin Tam -- 2001