SBD/January 22, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Pundits Weigh In On NFL Discussion About Whether To Eliminate Or Alter PATs

The future of extra points in the NFL could depend on "if the coaches are in the room" when any proposal to eliminate the play is voted upon, according to ESPN's John Clayton. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this week said he is considering several plans that include eliminating PATs, including one in which touchdowns would become worth seven points. Teams under this proposal would have the option to go for two points, but a failed conversion would result in losing a point. Clayton: "If the coaches are in there, I think they'll say no, they don't want to do that. But there's been times when they just go to the owners. The owners have the vote and the owners say, 'What are we talking about here? Yeah, let's eliminate that. That's not a big play'" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 1/21). Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio noted Goodell "doesn’t simply spitball on ideas like this," and he "wouldn’t be talking about it if he didn’t believe that the time has come to get rid of the extra point." However, he still has to "convince 24 owners to go along with him” ("PFT," NBCSN, 1/21). S.F.-area KGMZ-FM's Mark Kreidler said the NFL is "nowhere near actually enacting" the plan to eliminate PATs, but "this is what Roger Goodell does." Kreidler: "When they have an idea that's kind of floating around ... Goodell will just kind of roll it out there." That is "his way of gauging public opinion" ("Yahoo Sports Talk Live," CSN Bay Area, 1/21).

SOUNDS GOOD TO ME: ESPN's Michael Smith called extra points "routine" and wondered, "What's the point of doing something that's routine instead of adding even more excitement to the game?" Smith: "I love this about Roger Goodell. They're constantly looking for ways to tweak and improve what many believe to be an already ... perfect product" ("Numbers Never Lie," ESPN2, 1/21). CBS' Jim Rome said, “If the kick return is the league’s most exciting play and Team Goodell has all but eliminated that, then they better do the right thing and eliminate the league’s most boring play." Yahoo Sports’ Rand Getlin said the idea is "probably a good thing" and could "help us from a viewership standpoint” (“Rome,” CBS Sports Network, 1/21). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said the NFL "is only made better if the extra point is kept in there but ... changed a little bit." Plaschke: "Why don't you move the extra point back to the 25-yard line? ... In its current state, it's boring, it makes no sense." ESPN's Israel Gutierrez said, "If you’re going to change it, make it better, make it more difficult, make it more entertaining. But don’t just get rid of it because it's almost an automatic." Meanwhile, columnist Kevin Blackistone said, "I haven’t heard anybody -- anybody! -- except Roger Goodell just now talking about, 'We've got to do something with the extra point.' It's fine!" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/21).“ FS1's Randy Moss said, "Leave the football game alone and leave it up to the officials and the players in between the white lines. They're just trying to change this game up so much” ("Fox Football Daily," FS1, 1/21). 

NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS: ESPN's Michael Wilbon said the NFL's proposal is "just basically saving some time," as networks will be "going to the commercial early." Teams likely "will go for two when they need to, just like now." Wilbon: "This changes nothing except you save some time" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/21). In L.A., Sam Farmer notes getting rid of extra points would mean the NFL "will need to carve out a little extra time for TV to show replays of the touchdown." The PAT "gives networks that time now." NBC "SNF" Exec Producer Fred Gaudelli said, "Otherwise, I don't think anybody would miss it. Come on. The philosophy of going for two doesn't change." Farmer writes the PAT "is entirely superfluous" and asks what play, other than the "clock-killing kneel down, is so virtually automatic?" (L.A. TIMES, 1/22).
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