Extra points will be a little bit harder at the start of the preseason, as the NFL is experimenting with moving the spot of the ball back for point after attempts.
Starting with Sunday night’s Hall of Fame Game and through the second week of the preseason, teams will line up at the 15-yard line when kicking extra points. (Two-point conversion attempts will remain at the 2-yard line, and extra points will move back to the 2 for the third week of the preseason and throughout the regular season.)
The NFL decided to try that after a groundswell during last season to do something — anything — to make extra points more interesting. Right now, NFL kickers make more than 99 percent of extra point attempts, making the extra point the most boring play in football. NFL owners voted down a proposal to move extra points back to the 25-yard line, but they agreed to experiment with moving them to the 15 in the preseason and reconsider the idea next offseason.
An extra point spotted at the 15 is the equivalent of a 33-yard field goal, which is still a chip shot for NFL kickers. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if every single longer extra point attempt is good this preseason. If the NFL wants to see how the game is changed by more challenging extra points, it should have moved them back to the 25, or farther.
The NFL could also consider moving two-point conversion attempts from the 2-yard line to the 1, making them easier and therefore giving coaches a greater incentive to go for two. The two-point conversion is one of the most exciting plays in football, and replacing those boring chip-shot kicks with exciting two-point conversion attempts would make the game better for the fans.
But the NFL’s owners are a conservative bunch, and they’re hesitant to make significant changes. Moving back the extra point kick by 13 yards is a very small step in the right direction, and that’s all we’re going to get this year.