SBD/March 4, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Foot Fault? NFL Considers Experimenting With Extra-Point Attempts From 25-Yard Line

NFL kickers converted field goal attempts of 40-49 yards at an 83% rate last season
The NFL Competition Committee has "discussed experimenting this preseason with a longer ... extra-point try," according to Judy Battista of NFL.com. A committee member said that meetings over the weekend "included preliminary talks about placing the ball at the 25-yard line for the extra-point kick ... rather than the 2-yard line, where it is currently placed." The conversion rate of extra-point attempts last season was 99.6%, and a longer extra-point try "certainly would make things more interesting and require significantly more strategizing." The conversion rate of field goals from 40-49 yards last season was 83%. The committee member said of the proposal, "There is no consensus yet. We could experiment in preseason, but we are not there yet" (NFL.com, 3/3).

PLAYOFF EXPANSION A GOOD THING? In addition to the extra point, one of the main NFL talking points this offseason is the potential expansion of the postseason to 14 teams. Reports that support is growing for adding two teams to the playoffs has generated a lot of chatter on sports talk TV shows in recent days. ESPN's Dan Le Batard said adding teams to the playoffs is "diluting everything" accomplished in the regular season. Le Batard: "You’re making the 16 games right now -- each one of them that matters more than regular-season games matter in other sports -- matter a lot less." ESPN's Bomani Jones said, "Go look at who just missed the playoffs this last year and you tell me how many of those teams you really wanted to see play another down of football. There really aren’t that many of them. We’ve got enough" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN, 2/28). FoxSports.com's Bill Reiter said, "I hate it on every single level. ... This protects mediocrity. Some team that should have their GM and their head coach on the hot seat instead gets to pretend they had success because at 9-7 they made the playoffs" ("Rome," CBSSN, 2/28). ESPN's J.A. Adande said, "It’s one more game but it’s a diluted game. ... The playoffs should not be the province of mediocre." The Dallas Morning News' Tim Cowlishaw said that the league is "eventually going to get to 16 teams in the playoffs," but thinks that is "too much" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/28).

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan said expanding the NFL playoffs is "not the worst thing that ever happened and it’s certainly something that is predictable." He added, "It’s about making money. It’s about the opportunity to open up the gates one more time for everybody involved." Columnist Kevin Blackistone said expansion of the playoffs is "all about cheddar" and the league "is even talking about putting that playoff game right on Monday night where they know they can even sell more ads" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/28). WEEI-FM's Michael Holley said the NFL right now is "the one sport ... where there is a true sense of genuine accomplishment about making the playoffs." He added, "This is such an obvious money grab. There is not a demand for this" ("Numbers Never Lie," ESPN2, 2/28). CBS Sports Network's Jim Rome said playoff expansion is "about two things: Getting two extra playoff games on TV during the first weekend and getting the Cowboys into the playoffs, which means it’s really about one thing, money." CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman said, "This is how the NFL got to be the king, because the NFL has the most business sense" ("Rome," CBS Sports Network, 2/28). NFL Network's Heath Evans said the NFL's current playoff system is the "best of the best, and America proves it every year by the ratings we get." But the reason teams will likely be added is because the "ratings we get are so good" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 2/28).
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