Not everyone likes the proposal that would take part of the “foot” out of football, via the elimination of the extra point. But most do, and the adjustment as framed by Commissioner Roger Goodell makes a lot of sense.
By making a touchdown worth seven points while giving the team that scored it the chance to risk one point in order to go for two, the most dramatic change in the scoring rules since the NFL embraced the two-pointer 20 years ago would acknowledge that the PAT has indeed become as a practical matter automatic.
While not entirely automatic, giving a team a seventh point upon scoring a touchdown wipes out several opportunities per game for unnecessary injury. Sure, the extra-point attempt doesn’t typically entail hard hitting. In 2012, however, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke his arm while blocking for an automatic PAT try.
The high success rate coupled with the injury risk outweighs the very slim drama of a possible miss. Far more significant is the removal from the game of the potential surprise two-point attempt from placekick formation. But that also happens very rarely.
There’s also another benefit to dumping the extra point. The ensuing TV timeout would give the replay official a little extra time to determine whether a full review of the touchdown is needed.
Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee says that he fears the elimination of the PAT will lead to the elimination of “eventually the kicker altogether.” But the field goal and the kickoff will remain. Even if the kickoff eventually goes the way of the PAT (and that’s a possibility that has been discussed), teams still need kickers for three-point tries.
Ultimately, 24 owners must agree to a change that would be radical on the surface but sensible when considering the bigger picture of ensuring excitement and keeping players as safe as reasonably possible.