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Thread: Stupid Football Stat Question Regarding First Downs

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    nyashfan's Avatar
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    Question Stupid Football Stat Question Regarding First Downs

    Yes, I am aware that this question is essentially irrelevant. You could say that it came to me in a bad dream last night concerning all this talk about the importance of rushing attempts and first downs.

    Question - if a team scores a touchdown on offense outside of a goal-to-go distance, does the team get credited with a first down as well--en passant, so to speak? I am 99.9% sure that the answer is 'no', although logic seems to dictate that the answer should be 'yes'.

    If a runner were tackled at the one yard line, the team would be credited with a first down because a) the required yardage was attained and b) the down reverted back to first down.

    It seems that the down reverting back to first supersedes the attainment of the required yardage. Perhaps this is required as first downs attained via penalty do not require that the necessary yardage be attained e.g. defensive holding.

    For those compiling statistics and doing analysis, however, it seems silly and inconsistent not to reward a team with a first down on a play that attains the necessary yardage only because it results in a touchdown rather than being stopped on the one yard line.

    Don't worry. I won't be drafting a petition to send to the rules committee.

    But if anyone felt that assigning a first down in such situations was logical and consistent with what first down statistics are designed to measure, I'd be curious to hear others' opinions.

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    MartinTheSNAKE's Avatar
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    Snakes!Mike Wallace 112013 Dolphins Logo1972 Dolphins LogoCam Wake 91
    Interesting question. I dont know the answer. Im curious as well.

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    J. David Wannyheimer's Avatar
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    I just looked this up and while nobody seems to be completely certain on the internet about it, apparently you are credited with a first down if you score a touchdown in the National Football League.
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    rent this space's Avatar
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    They don't receive a new set of downs so I would guess no, they don't
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    nyashfan's Avatar
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    Thanks for your help. I couldn't find a definitive answer myself when searching the internet.

    It was weird that this question suddenly dawned upon me. And after so many years of watching football, I couldn't recall this idiosyncracy ever being discussed. I felt that I should've known the answer, and it bothered me that I didn't!
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    Dolfan4life!'s Avatar
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    I don't have a source but I am 99.9% sure the answer is yes. Any offensive play resulting in a TD (even those in a goal-to-go suituation) also count as a 1st down gained.
    Dolfan4life!

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    flynryan15's Avatar
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    Cam Wake 912013 Dolphins LogoMike Wallace 11
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    cowboy82nd's Avatar
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    No, that's not correct. You need to get a first down to be credited for a first down. If you get the ball at your own one and on the first play you go 99 yards for a touchdown, you do not get credit for any first downs.
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    nyashfan's Avatar
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    That was my initial belief. It seems inconsistent based upon what the first down statistic is designed to measure.


    Quote Originally Posted by cowboy82nd View Post
    No, that's not correct. You need to get a first down to be credited for a first down. If you get the ball at your own one and on the first play you go 99 yards for a touchdown, you do not get credit for any first downs.
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    J. David Wannyheimer's Avatar
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    The only definitive answer I've seen on this comes from the 1947 (!) NFL rulebook, and it says that you indeed do get a first down for a touchdown. Don't have anything more recent and I'm too lazy to keep looking today. Sorry.
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