NFL Owners Hope To Inject Excitement Into Extra Point By Moving It Back To 15-Yard Line
NFL owners yesterday voted 30-2 to "move the line of scrimmage for the extra point kick from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line" in an effort to "put the thrill and skill back into" the PAT, according to Gary Myers of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. That "turns it into a 33-yard attempt instead of 20 yards." If a team "elects to go for two points, the line of scrimmage remains at the 2." This is "not a one-year experiment, although this set of rules was adopted" for '15 only. The league will "re-evaluate after the season and decide whether to adjust the line of scrimmage" in the long run. The Raiders and Redskins "owned the no votes" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/20). Texans GM Rick Smith, who is on the league's competition committee, said, "This isn't an experiment. It's a rule change. We have given ourselves the ability to look at the statistics and make sure we are accomplishing the things we are trying to accomplish." NFL VP/Officiating Dean Blandino: "The overall goal throughout the process was to make the play more challenging and a more skilled play than what it was." USA TODAY's Lindsay Jones notes the change could "mean more two-point conversion attempts after only 59 such plays in 256 regular-season games last season" (USA TODAY, 5/20). THE MMQB's Peter King wrote one of the "significant and salient points made during Tuesday’s vote was this: The measure passed for one season only." That means teams "wanted a change to what’s become a gimme ... but wanted to see how the new system worked before doing something revolutionary." If the new extra point "doesn’t motivate coaches to go for two more, look for the owners next offseason to vote to push the PAT back eight or 10 yards further so some drama is created in the touchdown conversion" (MMQB.SI.com, 5/20).
SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE: In Green Bay, Pete Dougherty noted the NFL "had to do something" about the extra point, because with 99.6% of PAT kicks being made last season, it has "become a non-play." Even at the new distance, the PAT is a "high-percentage kick, but at least it's not a gimme" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 5/20). FS1’s Elika Sadeghi said, “Anything that’s going to make the game even a little bit more exciting, I’m all for it. It’s not going to be a huge change that’s going to impact the game in other ways for the worst, so why not?” (“America’s Pregame,” FS1, 5/19). In Austin, Kirk Bohls writes there is "nothing wrong with adding drama to the most boring play in sports." Bohls: "Moving the ball to the 15 will be prudent, but I'd put the ball at the 1 to encourage two-point tries" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/20). In Dallas, Rick Gosselin writes the NFL did not go "far enough," suggesting the league "abolish the conversion kick completely." Gosselin: "Put the ball at the 2 and make teams run or pass for that extra point. That would inject some excitement into the dullest play in football" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/20).