If the NFL wanted to see some missed extra points this preseason, then the league got what it wanted.
This year’s experiment with moving the extra point back to the 15-yard line for the first two weeks of the preseason claimed a couple of victims on Friday night. Saints kicker Shayne Graham missed a point after touchdown, as did Panthers kicker Jordan Gay.
The new rule makes extra points the equivalent of a 33-yard field goal, instead of the normal distance of 20 yards. Saints coach Sean Payton said after seeing Graham miss that he favors the idea of the NFL doing something to make extra points more challenging, although he wasn’t pleased that his own kicker wasn’t able to handle an extra point that was 13 yards longer than usual.
“Listen, the ball’s on the 15-yard line, so we’re not talking about hitting a 50-yard field goal here,” Payton said. “I’d like to think we can hit a field goal when it’s on the 15.”
Most of the time, NFL kickers have no trouble making a kick when the ball is spotted on the 15. But the new preseason rule makes the extra point a little less automatic. With some around the league saying the extra point has become pointless, it’s possible that next year, this rule will be adopted for the regular season.