Belichick thinks extra points are a waste of time


Patriots coach Bill Belichick doesn’t like extra points. And he wants the NFL to do something about them.

Asked on Wednesday about the importance of special teams in the playoffs, Belichick veered off into a discussion about how special teams have been de-emphasized in today’s NFL. Specifically, Belichick mentioned that most kickoffs now go for touchbacks, and that extra points are so easy as to be meaningless.

“I personally would love to see the kicking game remain as a very integral part of the game so that the kickoffs are returned and so that extra points are not over 99 percent converted because that’s not what extra points were when they were initially put into the game back 80 years ago, whatever it was,” Belichick said.

Kickers were 1,256-for-1,261 (99.6 percent) on extra points this year. Belichick thinks something needs to be changed so that extra points aren’t so automatic as to be boring.

“I would be in favor of not seeing it be an over 99 percent conversion rate,” Belichick said. “It’s virtually automatic. That’s just not the way the extra point was put into the game. It was an extra point that you actually had to execute and it was executed by players who were not specialists, they were position players. It was a lot harder for them to do. The Gino Cappellettis of the world and so forth and they were very good. It’s not like it is now where it’s well over 99 percent. I don’t think that’s really a very exciting play because it’s so automatic.”

I happen to agree with Belichick that the NFL should change its rules in some way so that 99 percent of touchdowns aren’t followed by the most boring play in the sport. Here are a few of the ways the rule could be changed:

Eliminate extra point kicks entirely. A team that scores a touchdown can either take seven points, or take six points with the possibility to turn it into eight points with a two-point conversion attempt. If the scoring team doesn’t want to go for two, it can just take the seven points automatically. At a time when the NFL wants to do all it can to reduce injuries, this would make a lot of sense. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski’s long recent string of injuries began with a broken arm on an extra point, although Belichick has been speaking out about the pointlessness of extra points since before Gronkowski got hurt.

Follow the lead of the XFL. In the XFL, that Vince McMahon-run football league that existed for one season, there were no extra point kicks. Teams got six points for a touchdown and then ran another play from the two-yard line, and if they scored they got one extra point. The NFL actually experimented with something like that during 1968 NFL-AFL preseason games, and the World Football League had a similar rule, called the Action Point, in the 1970s. In the playoffs the XFL changed its extra point rule to allow teams to go for two or three points by moving the line of scrimmage back farther from the goal line.

Move the line of scrimmage on extra point kicks to the 20-yard line. Currently, the line of scrimmage for an extra point is the two-yard line, which makes it the equivalent of a 20-yard field goal. That’s too easy. Moving the line back to the 20-yard line would make kicks the equivalent of a 38-yard field goal, which isn’t quite as much of a chip shot. Two-point conversions could remain where they are now, at the 2-yard line, or we could try the next option:

Move the line of scrimmage for all extra points up to the 1-yard line. If the line of scrimmage were closer to the goal line, two-point conversions would be easier, and coaches would be more inclined to go for two. That would result in fewer extra points (one of the most boring plays in football) and more two-point conversions (one of the most exciting plays in football).

Require the player who scored the touchdown to kick the extra point. In the old days, there were no kicking specialists, and a position player handled the placekicking. “Don Hutson that, everybody talks about how great of a receiver he was, and he was, he was the first great receiver in the National Football League, he was a great kicker too,” Belichick said. “That was another important part of his job.” So why not make kicking extra points a part of the job of players who score touchdowns in today’s NFL? It would be fun to watch running backs and wide receivers try to kick extra points (and very fun to watch offensive linemen try to kick extra points after recovering fumbles in the end zone) and a rule like that would result in a lot more two-point conversion attempts.

Bring back the drop kick. Belichick didn’t suggest replacing the extra point place kick with a drop kick, but he is the only coach in the last 70 years to have his team score with a drop kick, which is still legal under NFL rules but is almost never used (Belichick sent Doug Flutie out to drop kick an extra point eight years ago.) The drop kick, on which the ball is bounced off the ground before being kicked, is more difficult and wouldn’t be as automatic as the current extra point.

Whatever the rule, it really doesn’t make much sense to keep trotting players out there for extra point attempts that are so automatic that their primary purpose seems to be to give fans time for a bathroom break after touchdowns. Under current rules, extra points are a waste of time.

61 responses to “Belichick thinks extra points are a waste of time

  1. Yea but extra points are two commercial breaks that bring in a ton of money. Kickoffs are a waste of time too. But guess what? That’s two more commercial breaks.

    After every touchdown I get to hear Dennis Leary telling me to buy a Ford F-150 four times.

  2. “Eliminate extra point kicks entirely. A team that scores a touchdown can either take seven points, or take six points with the possibility to turn it into eight points with a two-point conversion attempt. If the scoring team doesn’t want to go for two, it can just take the seven points automatically.”

    I’m all for this, I’m surprised you didn’t put up one of your famous polls though.

  3. But doesn’t it give TV Networks more opportunities for commercial breaks, replays, or for Cris (don’t call me Chris) Collinsworth to say something insightful????

  4. I agree with Belichek, something needs to be done because extra points are stupid but the last 2 recommendations are moronic. However, the idea of eliminating them altogether or moving the LOS back to the 20 makes a lot of sense. I actually like the idea of moving it back to the 20 the best. Not crazy about the XFL rule but it would be better than it currently is.

    Can we also get the kickoffs back to the way they were? Kickoff returns are great & now we almost never see them anymore.

  5. An alternative would be to move the line of scrimmage on extra points to the 25-yard line and make it a 42 yard kick. That would add real coaching into the equation, especially with wind factors in changing quarters. You would keep the two point conversion attempts from the present extra point line of scrimmage.

  6. I totally agree with coach Belichick. Let’s make it a three-point conversion at 5-yard line.

    If you make the player with the touchdown to kick the field goal, players will have to spend time practising kicking, it is then truly a waste of time. They need to spend as much time on what their talent is to make them better, then the game can be better.

  7. The NFL will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER admit that another football organization has a better idea then them. Take play review in the NCAA, it is handled MUCH better then the NFL, but they will never admit that. And hence keep tweaking their review policy, but never getting it right…

    So.. the thought that they would use the XFL or WFL version of the extra point is an immediate no go.

  8. Adjustable Field Goal Posts – decrease the width for extra points to 9-10 feet.

    Love the idea of players kicking their own field goals.

  9. Instead of worrying about the kicking game, how about putting defense back into the NFL? Points were scored at an alarming rate this season, especially in the second half of the season. Peyton Manning has made a mockery of the QB position. Playing QB has become so easy, rookies show up and perform like 10-year vets.
    If your favorite team doesn’t have a QB who throws 30, 35, 40 TD passes a season, your team doesn’t have an “elite” QB. On the flip side, if your favorite team’s scoring defense isn’t ranked in the top 5, your favorite team’s scoring defense stinks.
    There’s more to worry about than extra points. The NFL has become Arenaball.

  10. @ kd75 – Couldn’t agree more. The NFL is all about making money. They are a business and making money is #1. The more commercial time the better. If everyone can take off their spygate glasses for a second Bill B. often has really good insight into the game. He loves the history of football and he would be a great contributor to the NFL in regards to several ways to make the game better for fans. It will never happen though as his past mistakes and his demeanor make it hard for the league to take anything he says and try to use that for change. If he wasn’t so arrogant with manipulating the rules on video taping he wouldn’t have this stigma about him. He did this to himself and it did ruin his reputation. For every fan that has an issue with him, if your team needed a head coach and he was available you’d all be licking your lips at a chance to get him.

  11. I say give the team a choice of running a play from the two for 2 points or kicking from the 20 or 25 for 1 point. Get rid of the current extra point.

  12. If penalties were not carried over to the kickoff more teams would try to block extra points. We don’t carry defensive penalties on TDs to the next play. And/or perhaps if a kick is blocked and the defending team returns it, they could choose to take the ball where the play ended, including the other team’s endzone, rather than have a kickoff at all. The current rules eliminate almost all incentive to block the kick. Little to gain and a lot to lose.

  13. I agree with this. I mean, the defense doesn’t even try to block them anymore. Most of the guys are just standing there watching the kick.

  14. Don Shula is greatest coach ever, but Belechick is good too. So, I give him weight on his views.

  15. This will only happen when former kickers file a lawsuit for repetitive leg trauma or something…Then Goddell and his merry band of Salvation Army henchmen will take notice…

  16. Thoughtful discussion. Glad to see someone with as much “influence” in the NFL as Coach Belichick is willing to challenge the status quo to bring up this idea. He’s right on – the automatic kick is a injury waiting to happen. Let’s See. . .
    #1 – workable – would definitely change the thinking of the game
    #2 – Agree with response that the NFL will not take on an idea from the XFL – it might imply you agree with a former “competitor?”
    #3 – maybe the best idea mentioned – I can see the extra point kick at lambeau, Chicago or Philly could on many a day take on a whole new meaning.
    #4 – still too many “automatic kicks”
    #5 &#6 – I’ll admit these would be “fun” – especially seeing the defensive tackles trying kicks – but don’t see either of these as a viable option.

  17. For pure comedy…I love the idea of the player scoring the TD having to kick the extra point! Can you imagine some WR or RB kicking it right into the backs of his offensive lineman, like bad HS kickers? That would be great fun to watch…bunch of lineman getting hit in the ass with footballs and getting all pissed about it.

  18. As others have said, no way the networks agree to having less commercials, but I’m all in favor of option number one.

  19. @kd75 The extra point has nothing to do with commercials, they go to commercial after the extra point and then after the kickoff.

    Moving the kick back would only hurt 2-point chances, so that is not good at all. (unless is was, if you go for 2, it’s at the 2 yard line, and go for 1 at the 20 or so yard line)

    I do understand what Belichick is saying, but I think the real reason is because he lost his TE Gronk to a broken arm on an extra point.

    So by his logic, if 99% of conversions happened on 3rd and 1, we should just eliminate the 3rd and 1 and give first downs? (just being a pain here)

    Kickoffs were eliminated because of injury just a couple years ago, so changing that again (increasing the potential of injuries) would be near to impossible.

    Oh, I respect Belichick, but just because he is the “best” coach does not mean he is always right when he says stuff like this. The best coach and creative mind would find a way to block more extra points or dupe others into trying for 2 (and missing) more often.

  20. Replay available on every play, the player that scored kicking their own extra point to encourage more two point conversion and make football more exciting….

    Is it too early to start the Belichick for commissioner campaign?

    I definitely like the idea of the extra point being kicked by the player that scored. It would add a new level of strategy in close games. First and goal from the one, hand it off to your kicker? That’s entertainment. Down by one with three seconds left on the clock? Do you go for two and the win or do you allow Sheldon Richardson to put OT and possibly the game on his foot?

  21. They should make goal posts that electronically move. When an extra point is being kicked the uprights move in so the area is a lot narrower. During a regular field goal the uprights move back to their normal width. That would be interesting.

  22. The option of making the 2 point conversion a 1 point conversion and eliminating the extra point kick is a good idea. Players would like it to, because it probably cuts the amount of overtime games significantly under the idea some team will convert the 2 yard conversion more than the other, whereas each would nail kicks to produce a more likely regulation tie.

  23. In rugby league (Played in Australia), the kick for the extra point is taken from where the try is scored. So if we applied the same theory to NFL, teams would try to score touchdowns nearer the middle of the field to make it an easy kick for the extra point. But the touchdowns scored near the corners of the end zone would make a very difficult conversion.
    I may not have explained it very well, but I actually agree with Belichick (I may need to see a neurologist for that admission). However, a really good solution is to replicate where they place the kicks in rugby league. It would add to the intrigue, valuing the kickers that are accurate at kicking at an angle. Memo to NFL – watch the ARL (Australian Rugby League)

  24. The extra point should be a play, not a kick. Make it worth 1 point from the 1 or 2 yardline and worth 2 points from the 5 or the 7.

    Keep kickoffs, but move them up to the 40 yard line and eliminate the kicking tee. Make the kicking team kick it off the ground or punt it.

  25. Easy fix – position the kick parallel to where the TD happened. Football kicks are way too easy compared to rugby extra points. In rugby you have to be able to kick it from any point in the width of the field – even just inside of the sideline

  26. Move it back a few yards is the easiest solution.

    99.6% with over 1000 kicks as a sample size is more than enough data to confirm the stupidity of the extra point.

  27. I like the idea that the scorer has to make the kick, or the team goes for two.

  28. You can add the field goal to this… they have become way too easy to make… kick off should return so we can have run backs….

  29. As bobzilla comments, scoring and passing are way too easy now. As a Pats fan I think the real QB TD and yardage records are and always will be Marino’s because he did it before the NFL was “Polianized” and his peers weren’t even in his stratosphere while now 2-3 Qbs throw for 5 k yards and close to a dozen for over 4k every year.

    Therefore, I like BB’s idea of adding more strategy to the game since real defense won’t be easy to play again, ever (still want the PI rule changed, spot fouls are ludicrous). Heck if they can’t play defense anymore, I’d be in favor of making the amount of downs 3 instead of 4.
    Heck, as a purist, I’d love to see stats compiled in domes thrown out altogether, but I know that’s a pipe dream.

  30. Requiring the player who scored the TD kick the extra point would make getting a “2” in your office block pool more palatable.

  31. The kicking game is so irrelevant now they should change the sport name from football to something else. Maybe in America we should call soccer football like everywhere else in the world and call football, soccer. The NSL. The National Soccer League.

  32. Use the NCAA rule..If you block it, or if you go for two and get intercepted, the defense can return the interception or blocked kick for two points..

  33. I like the idea of following the rugby rule. It would put some thought into touchdown play and force receivers and running backs to try and score in the middle of the field. Corner routes would result in a real difficult kick. If I’m not mistaken the term touchdown came from actually touching the ball down in the endzone. The extra point kick would then line up with where the ball was touched down, not where you cross the goal line. Seems kind of simple. Not sure the refs could handle it though. Actually getting the ball in the right spot may be over their heads.

  34. Ha, you’re probably right about the refs. And, yes in rugby, it’s where the ball is “placed” on the ground, which is why you alway see the runners cross the line then run in toward the center. Not sure that would work here as it’d result in players getting tackled in the end zone to keep the ball to the sides. And it would probably be easier on the refs/replay to determine the point on the goal line where the ball crossed it, not only horizontally but now “vertically” if you take my meaning. Essentially measure the point in two dimensions, not just the one now used.

  35. PAT:

    I agree that maybe we should start “touching down” again and then attempt the PAT in line with where the TD occured. THat would add complexity. No need to change the 2pt conversions.

    Kick Offs:

    One of two options here –
    if the ball goes all the way through the end zone without first touchung the field of play (aka 1 bounce minimum) then the receiving team get the ball from the spot of the kick.

    or allow a maximum number of touch backs per team per game…..maybe 3 each to use strategically.

    I don’t want to see the game change radically but a few tweaks might take it up to the next level?

  36. Either make the xtra point a 40 yard FG attempt or do it like rugby. If a TD is scored at the pylon, then the kick is attempted from the sideline. If the TD is scored right up the middle, then the xtra point is attempted from straight on. This adds an element of difficulty tot he extra point. I don’t like the whole option for 7 or take the 6 and a 2 point conversion or move it back for a 3 point attempt. or put your helmet on backwards from the 25 and kick it like Mark Moseley. None of that. Just make the kick more difficult. No gimmicks.

  37. God Bless Bill Belichik for suggestion to remove the “point after” except I think it should be drop-kicked. I am an old-timer in football and was a quarterback, halfback, end, and drop-kicker for extra points and field goals, also kicked-off to open the game. At other times the ball was placed on the 20 yard line for the offensive team.

  38. Tell John Carney or Graham Gano that extra points are automatic.

    As someone implied above… if they’d like to tweak the game, I’d rather see them start with making it harder for Joe Average QB to throw for 4000 yards every year.

  39. Easy solution, do what they do in Rugby Football.

    The kick is taken where the try (touchdown) is scored. If someone scores in the corner you take an imaginery line parallel to the touchline and kick it from there. You then have a choice of kicking from close in with a horrible angle (decreases the gap in the posts) or ‘increase’ the the gap in the posts by kicking from a much greater distance along that same line from the touchline. If you want to kick from the mid point between the posts, then you cross the goal line there. Still have the option of going for two. Make point afters a lot more fun. Added advantage, in a tight game some teams would possibly try to score their TDs closer to the posts to ensure a one point kick.

    Rugby is not a past competitor to the NFL so they should not get their nose out of joint by looking into this.

  40. Why not just make a touchdown worth 7 points and keep the extra points for overtime! Then make the kick somewhat further out than the 2 yard line! That would add some spice to overtime!

  41. I agree the Extra Point must be changed, here’s how:

    Move the Extra Point attempt back to the 25 yard line so that it’s no longer a “sure thing”
    Move the 2-point conversion attempt back to the 5 yard line.

    This way it really makes a difference when teams must attempt a 42-yarder for the Extra Point or actually fighting for that 5 yard play to get two points. Networks still get their extra commercial time(s) and it becomes more exciting to watch especially when the game is on the line – no more “touchdown to tie” gimme’s. Teams have to earn each extra point.

  42. Says the coach that goes for it on his own 30 Yrd line that cost his team the game. It is a waste of time isn’t it bill, no signals to rec and decipher on extra points right?

  43. hmm,,,I tend to not be okay with BJ Raji kicking an extra point. Then, he NFL will tweak and re-tweak the rules regarding legal substitutons for who can come in and legally kick. These refs can’t get calls right as it is

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