American Football Field Dimension - All You Need to Know!
In the US, playing and watching American football is very popular. According to Gallup.com, a whooping 37% of U.S. adults voted it as their favorite sports to watch. So it makes sense that you, like many other, would want to know all the details about the game they love so much.
American football is a group sport. Its fields are notable for having one of the biggest playing surfaces. However, if you look closely, the dimensions of most high school American football fields are smaller than those of the NFL. Knowing what fields are in what sizes might help you appreciate the sport even further or help you if you are a player.
I am going to talk in this article about the varied dimensions of American football fields and the markings they come with. But let’s first start with the differences between soccer, football, and rugby for the new fans of this sport.
Football vs Soccer vs Rugby
All three sports differ from each other, as they have distinct rules and playing styles. I will not go into field dimensions, though.
|Familiarity of the game||The term football refers to a variety of sports in which a ball is kicked to score a goal. However, In the United States and Canada, football means American Football.||Soccer is known as “Football” in most nations throughout the world. In the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and several Asian countries, where it is called soccer or association football.||Rugby is played mostly in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Samoa, and its regulations are substantially different from those of American football.|
|Match duration||A match lasts for 60 minutes with four 15-minute quarters||One match lasts 90 minutes with two 45-minute halves.||A match lasts 80 minutes and is split into two 40-minute halves.|
|Played between||Two 11-player teams.||Two 11-player teams.||Two 15-player teams.|
|Ball shape||Ball is of prolate spheroid shape, i.e. elongated sphere.||The ball has an oblate spheroid shape.||Ball is oval-shaped.|
|Match officials||3 - 7 officials in the field, including a video reviewer.||A chief referee two assistant referees and a video assistance referee.||5 officials in rugby: a referee, two touch judges, a video referee, and a timekeeper.|
|Regulatory organization||International Federation of American Football (IFAF)||Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Football Association Board (IFAB)||World Rugby; formerly known as The International Rugby Board (IRB)|
Football Field Dimension
American football field dimensions usually do not vary, unlike the soccer fields. However, depending mostly on the level of competition—such as college, high school, national, and international, the distance between hash marks and the width of the goalposts vary. Below is a detailed account of American football field dimensions.
How Long Is a Football Field?
An American football field is 120 yards long. It has two end zones that are each 10 yards and a playing zone of 100 yards, making the total length of the field 120 yards.
If you are still confused about how long the field is, imagine the Statue of Liberty laid down on the field. The football field could accommodate the statue quite comfortably and still have space left. If the yards measurement system is unclear to you, I have also included the length of the fields in other measurement systems:
|American Football Field Length||120 yards||360 feet||109.73 meters|
How Wide Is a Football Field?
A football field is 53.3 yards in width. The fields were first measured in feet and in later years; it was converted to yards. So, 160 feet became 53.3 yards. Imagine a 16-story building laid down in the field. It is roughly the same size as the field, it could fit there.
Here are the dimensions in feet and meter for your convenience.
|American Football Field Width||53.3 yards||160 feet||48.76 meters|
No matter what league is being played, an American football field length remains constant: 120 yards long and 53.3 yards wide.
Hash marks or hash lines are little dashes that are parallel to each other but perpendicular to the sidelines. These marks outline the middle of the field. I will talk more about them right after the next section.
The distance between the hash marks, which varies depending on the league, is the biggest distinction between a professional field and a college or high school one.
Hashmark Distance from Sidelines Chart
For standard international games, and the hash marks are placed between 19.33 to 20 yards from the sideline. This distance from sideline differs with level of play. These are given in the following table.
|International Game||NFL||College||High School|
|19.33 to 20 yards||23.6 yards||20 yards||17.8 yards|
Goal Post Dimension
When players become older, the field goal size that is the goal width also increases. The various field goal post dimensions are shown in the table below.
|Play level/League||Cross bar Height||Additional Height of Post||Goal Width|
|High school||10 ft (3 m)||20 ft (6 m)||23 ft 4 in (7.1 m)|
|College||10 ft (3 m)||20 ft (6 m)||18 ft 6 in (5.6 m)|
|National Football League (NFL)||10 ft (3 m)||20 ft (6 m)||18 ft 6 in (5.6 m)|
*ft = feet, in = inch, m = meter
Football Field Description
If you’ve ever watched an American football game, you may have noticed different markings on the field.
Hash marks are used to position the players before every game. Also, during the opening scrimmage, the ball is placed down using the hash markers. Every football field has two sets of hash markings. The distance between these hash markings changes as players age and their leagues change.
The yard line in football is a line marked on the field that represents the length of one yard. A football field typically has 99 yard lines. Based on their location on the field, these yard lines have distinctive names, such as the 10-yard line, 20-yard line, 30-yard line, up to 50-yard line.
There are two goal lines that delineate the end zones on both sides.
End zones are at both ends of the football field beyond the goal line. It is the portion of the field where goal posts are located. The end line marks the end of the end zone and the field. The goal post stands on the end line. A field has two end zones, each of which is on the opposing side. Each team must protect the end zone on their side of the field.
With all these intricate markings and other factors, understanding the dimensions of American football fields can seem challenging at first. However, if you put enough effort into it, they are rather simple to grasp.