At the league meetings last week, owners voted to move the spot of the ball for extra points to the 20-yard line for the first two weeks of preseason.
The test comes after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league would explore options for extra point kicks now that they have become almost automatic for the league’s kickers. The owners’ decision was not met with approval by Bears kicker Robbie Gould.
Gould, who had an extra point blocked in 2013, said that he thinks that the move runs counter to other moves made recently to protect blockers on field goals and extra points because there’s no risk of a fake from the 20-yard line. Given the existing option to go for two with your actual offense on the field, the threat of a fake is already a fairly small one.
He also objected to changing the rules because kickers have gotten so good at their jobs.
“Because Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and these guys have become so good at passing the football and going over 5,000 yards per season, are you going to get rid of play action passing?” Gould said, via ESPN.com “A linebacker or a defense is so good at blitzing, are you going to get rid of that? No, you’re going to embrace it. The NFL has made our position become so good because the competition is so thick, if you fail to perform; they’ll cut you right away and get somebody else regardless of your salary because kicker’s salaries usually don’t mean a ton in regards to the salary cap. Instead of embracing how good the position has become like they for other positions, they’re actually trying to diminish what that position has become and completely overhaul it.”
Gould’s not wrong about the place of kickers in the game, but that’s exactly the reason why the league’s willing to experiment with alternatives to short extra points. Should the preseason test prove successful, however that’s being measured, Gould and his peers will likely be hearing more about the topic in the future.