How to Paint American Football Field

What are the dimensions of an American Football field? How do you measure and paint an American Football field from start to finish manually? And how much time and manpower does it take to complete the football field? This article will look at these questions and provide a step-by-step walkthrough of how the American Football field is laid out and painted.

What Are the Dimensions of an American Football Field?

An American Football field must be laid out and painted according to the dimensions below.

American Football field size and dimensions

Click the elements to expand and see the measurement information.

Field Dimensions

Length of the field: 360 feet (110 meters)

Width of the field: 160 feet (48.8 meters)

Goal Lines

Marked 30 feet (9.1 meters) from the End Line

Yard Lines

Marked in 5 yard intervals (4.6 meters) throughout the playing field

Yard Line Numbers

Marked 9 yards (8.23 meters) from the Side Lines and 1 foot (0.3 meters) from the Yard Lines. Yard Numbers are marked using handheld stencils which are templates in eg. cardboard or plastic to ensure a correct and uniform application of paint.

Hash Marks

Marked using 2 feet lines (61 centimeters). Hash marks are divided into Sideline Hash Marks and Infield Hash Marks.

Conversion Line

Marked at the 3 Yard Line directly in the middle of the playing field

Directional Arrows

Show the direction of the opposing team’s end zone

Goal Posts

Height of Goal Posts: 20 feet (6 meters) measured from crossbar

Goal width: 18.6 feet (4.7 meters) between inside of goal posts

Crossbar: 10 feet (3 meters) above the ground

Coaching Area

Extends 24 feet (7.32 meters) and measures 6 feet ( 1.83 meters) from the Side Line

Line Width and Color

Lines are 4 inches (10 centimeters) wide. The Side Lines and End Lines may exceed 4 inches in width.

Lines are usually painted in white. However, the Goal Lines and the Coaching Areas may be painted in contrasting colors.

How to Paint American Football Field

What You Will Need:

  • Large tape measure, 200ft or longer
  • Long thin rope, 360ft or longer
  • Field paint
  • 3 people minimum
American Football field side lines

Step 1: Front Side Line

The first thing to measure and mark is the Front Side Line. This should be 360ft. We also need to set tick marks for each yard line (there are 20 yard lines in total). The lines that will be used for further measuring are illustrated in the first image with white dotted lines.

American Football field diagram with 50 yard line

Step 2: 50 Yard Line

This next step is where multiple people are required to make sure the American Football field geometry is correct. Person 1 should hold the tape measure and stand exactly at the left 30 yard line. Person 2 should hold the other end of the tape measure at 200ft on the tape measure and stand exactly at the right 30 yard line. Person 3 will now pull the middle of the tape measure (100ft) out into the field. When the tape measure is taught, the 100ft mark will indicate the center mark of the field.

Once the center mark is found, the 50 yard line can be measured (160ft from the Front Side Line) and marked.

To save time, we will add small marks on the 50 yard line to indicate where the hash marks will be painted before continuing.

American Football field diagram with zero yard line end line

Step 3: Zero Yard Lines

Now it’s time to find and mark the zero yard lines. This will again require at least three people working together.

Person 1 will stand exactly at the 0 yard mark and hold the tape measure. Person 2 will stand on the Front Side Line at 20 yards (60ft). This marks the spot of the 10yd line. At this time, person 2 is holding the tape measure at exactly 180ft.

Person 3 will now locate the 80ft mark on the tape measure. This point is the center of the End Line. Once this center has been found, the End Line can be marked (160ft across).

These steps are now repeated at the other end of the field.

Small marks should be added to indicate where the hash marks will be.

American Football field diagram with side lines

Step 4: Back Side Line

Once the two zero yard lines have been measured and marked, it’s time to mark the Back Side Line. This is just a matter of connecting the two end points of the end lines using the rope and applying the football field paint to the turf.

American Football field diagram with yard lines and hash marks

Step 5: Yard Lines and Hash Marks

The rest of the process is quite simple, albeit very time consuming. For the yard lines, it is simply a matter of measuring out the different yard lines (20, 30, 40…) on both sides of the field and connecting the points – first with rope, then with paint.

For the hash marks, we have added small marks throughout the previous steps to indicate where they will start and finish. Again, it is simply a matter of using rope and paint to complete the lines.

How Long Does it Take to Paint an American Football Field?

This entire process usually takes approximately 20 man hours. The net time used of course depends on how many people are available for the football field painting. The more people working together, the faster they can measure and mark the football field turf. Split across three people, the process will usually take 6-7 hours.

This is where an automatic field painter can significantly reduce the time and effort required. All of the walking and pulling ropes and measuring distances goes away because the field painter applies a field template which is always 100% accurate. The templates are available in different versions according to the type of American Football that is played.

The templates can be customized whenever necessary. For instance, for training purposes where the hash marks are not required, it’s possible to deselect the hash marks to save time and paint. This can be done instantly with the touch of a button on the user tablet. The hash marks can then be added later when the football field needs to be ready for an actual game.

This is also the case for the coaching and player areas which can be added or removed as necessary. Individual lines of the American Football field can even be deactivated when painting the field. This can be useful for training purposes or if some of the lines should be painted using a different line color.

See how one of our customers uses the automatic field painter to paint American Football fields on artificial turf.

American Football Field Marking

Different Types of American Football

American Football which is played in many different countries and not only in the US can be divided into different levels such as high school football, college football and professional football. The different levels play the game by slightly different rules. The professional level of American Football is called the National Football League, more commonly known as the NFL.


American Football International

Rigby Taylor


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