Discussing potential rule changes: The extra point conversion

Streeter Lecka

The NFL is is discussing several rule changes this off-season. This article discusses the proposed elimination or amendment of the extra point kick.

The NFL is set to debate three rule changes which could have considerable impact on many aspects of the league. These are to amend or eliminate the extra point kick, to expand the number of teams in the play-offs and to centralise the use of replays to determine the correct officiating calls. This article shall discuss the elimination and possible amendment of the extra point kick.

First off all, Roger Goodell intimated that that the NFL may be eliminating the extra point kick altogether, something which drew the ire of kickers, football purists and generally a large cross section of peoples. What the NFL originally seemed to propose was substituting the PAT for some sort of 7 point touchdown with potential to be 8 but could also go back down to 6 if you don't play your cards right system. I won't spent much time analysing the pro's and con's of that, but please, whatever happens, let's ensure that it doesn't become a reality.

What is far more intriguing though is the proposal to move the extra point kick backwards to the 42-yard line something Roger Goodell has also said was under consideration.

The argument for the total elimination of the extra-point kick is that it is automatic, which it is. Something insane like 5 out of the last 1,500 were missed last season, that's a conversion rate of 99.6% percent so clearly the PAT as it is only serves to waste time.

However, just because it is broke in practice does not mean it is flawed in theory, it just needs to adjust to the modern NFL. Kickers have become exceptionally good at their jobs, to the point that a 42-yard field goal is fast becoming a chip shot. Thus, there is about as much a chance as a kicker missing the extra point as there is Ben Tate enjoying himself in Cleveland.

The extra point for a kick/ chance of two point conversion system works. It is weighted enough toward taking the extra point that it provides for a strategic element in game planning (teams nearly always settle for the extra point), and it also adds value and drama to any 2-point conversion attempt (because of their rarity). I don't just want to see teams go for 2 every time, which they will if there is no PAT, it will cheapen the entire process.

By moving the kick back to a 42-yard attempt for an extra point, pretty much everyone's a winner. Any should team should feel confident in their kickers ability to make that length of FG in today's NFL, so it will not be prohibitively difficult to go for the PAT.

At the same time, it should make kickers very happy, as they could see their value to the team sky rocket. It's all very well having a kicker who can bomb a 57-yard attempt when necessary, but finding a talented, consistent kicker would become considerably more important for a franchise, and would represent an advantage over a team who has not invested in a kicker. If a team can't rely on their kicker to make a PAT, they must assume the inherent risks of failing a 2- point conversion.

The NFL would also get its wish, an extra-point kick becomes instantly far more exciting and sexy. For the first time there is a legitimate chance a PAT could be missed or, you know, a team actually manages to block it. In addition 2-point conversion attempts would almost definitely increase and as we all know, more points+more points+ yet more points= happy commissioner.

Picture this scenario, your team is down by 6 points (the others teams kicker missed the PAT) and there is 3 minutes left to go. Your quarterback drives down the field and scores the touchdown. Instead of an automatic extra point, you better hope you have a good kicker back there because, although 30-yards is very makeable, who knows what could happen. For the opposing teams fans, they have to pray an as of yet unidentified hero blocks the kick to send it to OT.

That might sound similar to any end of game situation where a team has a FG for the win, and that's because it is, but that doesn't make it any less exciting. It is certainly more so than an 0.06% chance of the kick being blocked.

So in summation, with regards to moving the PAT back to a 43 yard FG, the kickers win, the NFL wins, the fans of teams with good kickers win and those who are particularly fond late game dramatics have a field day.

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