Patriots coach Bill Belichick had wanted the extra point to be made more difficult for years. In 2015, enough teams agreed with him to move it from a 19-yard kick to a 32-yarder.
Belichick may now want to change it back.
Sunday’s early miss of an extra point — his first in 523 attempts — by kicker Stephen Gostkowski loomed over the entire game, with the Patriots eventually forced to go for two late in an effort to send the game to overtime.
The many enemies of Bill Belichick will surely be pointing out the irony of what was, as Patriots nemesis Bill Polian described it last year, an effort to create a benefit for the Patriots.
“This was originally, in a different form, proposed by the New England Patriots,” Polian said on SiriusXM NFL Radio, via CSN New England. “The reason they proposed it is obvious. In January, December and even late November, in Northern [climates], Foxboro, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh — well-documented of course in Pittsburgh at the open end of the stadium how difficult it is to kick field goals — the team from the Northern [climates] that plays and practices in the harsher weather, the old Meadowlands being a prime example of that, has a decided advantage. [The Patriots] wouldn’t have proposed it if they didn’t think it wouldn’t help them.”
Polian was prescient in his assessment of what the change in the extra-point rule could do.
“I worry about an AFC or NFC Championship being decided on a missed field goal or a missed extra point from 32 yards in snow, on ice, in January,” Polian said. “I think that’s a miscarriage of justice, if you will. I would’ve much preferred to see it stay where it was because I didn’t see anything wrong with it.”
Snow, ice, or wind had nothing to do with Gostkowski’s miss. But from 19 yards his kick likely would have gone through.
With the rule change being a one-year adjustment only that will require 24 votes to keep it in place for 2016, the question now becomes whether Belichick, who at one point proposed moving the one-point try from the two to the 25, will continue to believe that it’s a good idea after seeing the very bad thing it did to his team’s effort to win a fifth Super Bowl.