Opposites Attack

The NFL Shouldn’t Move the Extra Point Back

A week ago the NFL decided to officially adopt the new rule of moving back extra point attempts from the two-yard line to the 15-yard line (making it a 32 or 33 yard field goal depending on where the placeholders put the ball). The NFL first experimented with this change in the 2014 preseason to see what the impact of it would be on how many extra points were made. As a result, there were eight extra point attempts missed out of 141 that were attempted, compared to the 2014 regular season when eight were missed out of a whopping 1,321 attempts. This is obviously a drastic impact and is one of the several reasons why the NFL should have kept the extra point at the two-yard line.

Continuing with the statistical analysis above, on field goals between 30-39 yards, teams made 272 of the 302 attempts from this distance range which is a 90% success rate. The NFL has expressed that they are expecting, and are okay with, the extra point percentage dropping to 93 or 94 percent, and this is likely. This is a rather harsh decrease in points throughout the season and will influence how teams play the game.

Speaking of how teams play the game, with the two-point conversion staying at the two-yard line teams like the Carolina Panthers or Philadelphia Eagles will be much more inclined to go with that option. Since the two-point conversion and extra point are no longer going to be taken from the same spot, it essentially eliminates the element of surprise for those trying to do a trick play for two points. It would be really difficult to go for two-points (or you wouldn’t want to go for two points) from 15 yards away when you can do it much more easily from two yards away. Let’s be honest, I don’t think we’re going to be seeing any 250+ pound linemen running 15 yards to get to the end zone so the placeholder can throw them the rock.

Finally, this longer extra point attempt will put cold-weather teams at a slight advantage. I know what you’re thinking, “How are cold-weather teams at an advantage when football is inherently more difficult when it’s done in the cold and with snow falling from the skies?” Granted, when a game is played in conditions like this, both teams will have to deal with the wind, precipitation, and temperature, but cold-weather teams will have been used to conditions like this and will know how to adjust to it. For a team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers going up to play against the Green Bay Packers, it can be a real awakening when there’s snow on the ground and you can’t feel your fingers.

Let’s be honest, does it really make sense to have something that’s easier be worth more points? How can a measly extra point be worth one single point from 33 yards away, but you can get three points from a field goal 20 yards away? The novelty of missed extra point attempts was something that made the misses so great. When more teams are missing it, that’s something that teams will get to strategize for and won’t focus as much on other parts of the game. The NFL should have kept the extra point where it was – there’s no reason to fix something that’s not broken, which seems to be what the NFL has been doing a lot of lately.

 

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