How Often are NFL Field Goals Blocked?

How often are field goal attempts blocked? And how does the rate vary by attempt distance?

I received a few requests to answer those questions after Monday night's field goal block for a touchdown return by the Patriots. It would also be a consideration in the final seconds of the Colts-Jaguars game Sunday afternoon.

Note that the distances on the chart below are for the line of scrimmage, not kick distance.

It looks as if the block rate tops out at 3.5% beyond the 25-yard line. I suspect the reason is simple ballistics. Normally, the best angle to launch any object for maximum range is 45 degrees. When a kick attempt is snapped from inside the 25, kickers have ample distance, so they can afford to kick at an angle greater than 45 degrees, which reduces the likelihood of a block. Once they get to the 25 and beyond, there is no benefit to kicking at and angle less than 45, so the block rate tops out there.


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