42-yard extra point feels like a red herring


At a time when the NFL wants to make the extra point more relevant (the bar is low), the NFL leaked to, um, the NFL on Monday the possibility of moving the snap from the two yard line to the 25.

It would turn the no-brainer extra point into a 42-yard try, which in today’s game is still mainly a chip shot.  It also would remove the possibility of a fake from kick formation — but maybe that would work because the defense definitely wouldn’t anticipate that one.  (It also would remove the drop kick from the potential bag of extra-point tricks, to the chagrin of our pal Doug Flutie.)

This one doesn’t pass the smell test.  It would create a clunky, two-pronged approach to the extra-point process, with the team that scored going to the two (and going for two) or to the 25 (and going for one).  More importantly, it wouldn’t advance the objective that ultimately underpins Commissioner Roger Goodell’s proposal to make the extra point automatic for teams content to take the seven — further removing contact that isn’t necessary to the game.

While the chances of blocking an extra point remain slim, the defense still tries.  And the effort puts a lot of physical stress on the offensive line.

As a result, injuries happen.  Just ask Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who first broke his arm in 2012 on an extra-point play.

Moving the extra point back by 23 yards won’t make the play any less intense.  If anything, defenses will push even harder because they realize there’s a better chance of blocking the kick or inducing a shank.

So this feels like a way to rally support for eliminating the extra point via the introduction of impractical alternatives.  After enough impractical alternatives are introduced, it will become a given that the play needs to change — and the best (and safest) option will be to get rid of the play altogether.

39 responses to “42-yard extra point feels like a red herring

  1. The NFL can move the extra point to 60 yards and Blair Walsh will still drain every kick.

    Blair broke the all time record of 50+ yards field goals in a row his ROOKIE SEASON.

    Best kicker in the NFL.

  2. The defense rarely tries on an extra point. You will only see them try when the game is close and meaningful. And sometimes they still don’t try.

  3. Rob Gronkowski has repeatedly gotten injured during surgery. Should the NFL ban surgeries too?

    You could breathlessly write things like, ‘Even small surgeries can lead to infection. Just ask Rob Gronkowski.’

    Let’s stop creating strawman arguments about why things (that aren’t broken) need to change. Here’s an insane idea: leave the best game in human history alone.

  4. I don’t think we should just reject this out of hand, particularly if there is a way to make Tony Romo hold for every kick.

  5. I was in support of changing the extra point but this today got me thinking and now Im no longer for it. Making the extra point harder will make guys like Peyton Manning less important and guys like Alex Henery more important. I dont see how that’s smart.

    Imagine Manning’s team is trailing by 7 and he drives his team down the field and scores. Before it was Manning drove down the field for a tie. That wouldnt be the case anymore. Now it will be Manning drove his team down the field and gave Prater a chance to tie the game.

    How is giving the kicker the glory good for the game? Now imagine if he misses. Everything great Manning did would be pointless. Maybe the 1st year or 2 of the new rule we will give him credit for giving his team a chance but eventually it will become such a commonplace thing that we wont even acknowledge it.

    How does making the faces of the league less important good for the NFL?

  6. Actually, drop kicks have been made from 50 yards and beyond – although the ball may have been somewhat different in those days.

  7. Does not address the original issue: that extra points are boring and a worthless potential for injury.

    Even if you make it a 50 yarder, it’s still only worth 1 point. Big whoop.

  8. If they are dead set on making a change, I think they are going about it all wrong by talking about moving the extra point back. I think the simplest and most logical solution would be to just force teams into going for two after every TD. This would not eliminate the importance of the kicker since they are currently arguing that extra points are automatic anyways. After all, they would still be plenty important with field goals and kickoffs. But by lengthening the extra point, I think you are putting too much emphasis on the kicker, and this is football (not soccer) last time I checked. If you force teams to go for two after every TD, the fans get an extra exciting play. It just seems to me like this would be more representative of football than moving back the extra point would be. I realize that this would do nothing to improve things from a safety perspective. But it would be no more dangerous than any other play.

  9. I suppose a 42 yard extra point is ok. I do think a 35 yarder would be fine as well. There will be more misses, therefore it will be more intense. I’m against an automatic point due to it messing with all time stat records. I don’t think a TD should just count as seven. I could care less about Rob Gronkowski’s arm or player safety in general. It’s American football, which means I am ok with all the injuries that come with it, even injuries to the stars don’t bother me. I say we need more contact and less rules against contact, bring back the low hits and high hits for all I care…go defense!!! I just ask that they punish the criminals that are in the league as harshly as they punish hitters.

  10. Removing the extra-point, even if it is considered a waste of time will take away part of the game that we grew up watching and love just the way it is. Extra-points have been blocked, extra-points have also been missed and 1 point has plenty of times made the difference in winning or losing. Please do not change the game, It is great just the way it is.

  11. Make the extra point the avg. field goal distance from the previous year.

    Each year the distance would change and Goodell could hold a press conference each year between the combine and the draft to anounce the distance.

    Then we’d have somerhting to talk about aside from who the Browns and Vikings are taking with their yearly top 10 picks.

  12. Extra points being blocked or missed are extraordinarily rare, other than in awful conditions like Philly vs. Detroit or when a kicker gets injured and someone else has to kick. I’m perfectly happy with losing this “tradition” and just making it an automatic point if you take it or an all or nothing attempt for two if that’s your choice. It’s not taking kicking out of the game or removing the need for good kickers, FGs will remain a significant part of the game and good kickers will still be able to find work doing that without the monotony of the extra point.

  13. I mean…maybe I’m just too attached to what’s left of ‘the norm,’ but I really don’t understand the push to eliminate xp’s or make them more complex.

    I almost get the feeling at this point that Goodell is just trolling all of us just to see how far he can push things, because he knows that no matter what we’ll keep watching, paying our hard earned $ and ensuring his exorbitant salary.


  14. End the extra point altogether. You can make the “extra point” into a “game changing” play with this simple formula.

    1. Put the ball on the 1 yard line and the team has to run/pass it into the endzone to get the point. They’d make it most of the time, but about 2-3 times out of 10 they wouldn’t.

    2. Put the ball on the 4 and if the offense gets it in, they get 2 points

    3. Put the ball on the 10 and they get one shot for 3 points. Now a 9 point lead isn’t insurmountable on a last drive.

    Now not only would the “extra point” no longer be an opportunity to go to the bathroom; it would be an exciting and important play in the scope of the game, with plenty of chances for fans to 2nd guess coaching decisions, thus adding to the drama of the game. It would also make comebacks more possible, thus extending interest in games where one side gets off to a big lead.

  15. First off I always try and live by the rule that there is no reason to fix something that is not broken..

    However it seems virtually certain that that is what Commissioner Goodell and the league wish to do. So I would propose this. Make the pat attempt and the points awarded variable. Here is an example of what I mean.

    1 play from the 5 yd line to either put it in the end zone or kick it through the uprights worth 1 PT.

    1 play from the 25 yd line to either put it in the end zone or kick it through the uprights.. worth 2 pts.

    1 play from the 35 yd line to either put it in the end zone or through the uprights. Worth 3 pts.

  16. Leave it where it is at. Only rule is the same people who scored have to do the extra point. Either find a player who can kick, or line up for two. Defense scores on an interception? guess what, they get to try the extra point, or go for two against the other teams offense.

  17. Make it a risk/reward scenario. Go for 2 whether you make it or not, you kick -off from the 35. Go for 1 and kick-off from the 20. Then you have to decide is the 1 point worth a higher probability of a good return.

  18. Give them 7 automatically for a TD, with the option to reduce it to 6 and go for the 2pt conversion.

  19. I’m for getting rid of the “automatic” extra point, but for a different reason. The time saved could be used to add a few more “play reviews” to the contest.

  20. 20 years ago the extra point percentage was over 95% and nobody cared. Now it’s 99%. If you want to regress towards 95% then move it back 10 yards.

    If you are going to start making it a 75-80% proposition then teams should never go the PAT based on a near 50% chance of making the 2-point conversion.

    The less ‘automatic’ the PAT becomes then the less valuable a TD is when it could be equaled by two FG.

  21. Why not just flip a coin to see if they get a point. After all the players safety is paramount! What is happening to the NFL???????

  22. I don’t remember this being an issue. It just came up in conversation a couple of months ago, and now everyone is so gung ho to make a change. More people get injured celebrating than they do on XP’s. How about spending more time and money on PED testing than the stupid XP. Oh that’s right, it’s normal for a person’s bicep to tear off his body.

  23. How about they keep it at the two and make it a free kick where the kicker needs to use his opposite leg. Makes about as much sense.

  24. Or instead of moving the kicker back they could pull up some “extra point” posts that are narrower and thus making the kick more difficult and at the same time allow for an option to still go for the fake.

  25. A major factor is being missed here. If you move the XP to the 25 yard line it makes PENALTIES on the TD relevant again, and teams would have to be careful about excessive celebration and that sort of thing. Currently those penalties are all enforced on the kickoff basically leading to an easy touchback. You get a penalty after the play on a TD and the kick is from the 25, you’re almost forced to go for 2, because it will without question be enforced on the XP. Right now you can basically get away with anything after the play on a TD, but pushing the XP back would change that drastically.

  26. I remember when NFL games were physical contests. Now it’s all about “player safety”. Newsflash: the game has never been 100% safe. That’s what makes it a popular game.

    If a dozen countries can play rugby without all the protective gear, I don’t see how the NFL can complain that the armored players they use are in any more danger of being injured. Injuries happen in every sport, the NFl doesn’t need to change.

  27. On extra points, hoist a net that has a hole in it… a soccer-goal-sized hole that’s kinda low so the defense has a chance to block the kick. The play begins where we have it now. Kick it in the hole, you get your point. Run or pass it into the end zone, two points. Only time the net is up is for the extra point. Field goal attempts would not have a net up there.

  28. This is a half-baked idea. It exposes the hypocrisy of a league that values money over safety (only reason they care is they don’t want to get sued) or the integrity of the game.

    One thing that I haven’t seen anyone bring up, is that this is essentially a field-goal on 4th and 25, since the offense cannot gain any benefit unless they get 25 yards or make the field goal. So the possibility of a fake is completely removed. By removing a fake, the defense can rush 11. And don’t give me the argument of the offense will run a fake. I guarantee any college or nfl special teams coach will instruct his player to hold up the wings and tight ends when rushing, so they will not be able to get out for a pass.

    So, by removing the fake, you add more rushers to the play and add more collisions. By adding 23 yards to the kick, you increase the distance of the kick and presumably, lower the trajectory on the kick, which in turn, will encourage defenders to rush harder. The end result is the defense rushes harder, hits the blockers harder and with more frequency.

    If the ball is on the 2 yard-line, a fake extra point has a chance of success, and a much better chance than one from the 25 yards line. This should keep 2-3 defenders from rushing, because a wing or tight end could release. There also is little chance of blocking the kick. Any special teams coach of any worth has automatic calls or fakes in place for the extra point or field goal team, when the defending team overloads a side or does not respect a fake. Go watch Sam Koch take an extra point fake in for a rushing touchdown against the Steelers in 2012 (if I remember correctly), when they were up by multiple TD’s late. It was to show that they did have the fake in their playbook and were willing to use it if a team didn’t respect it. It also served to slow down the rush later in the season.

    To put a bow on it, the league cares about cash. That is it. Not safety, because this change adds more hard collisions, which odds tell us will equal more injuries. If they cared about safety, it would be a free extra point, or a two point conversion opportunity. Just makes me sick that the NFL masquerades around as safety conscious, while systematically destroying the greatest game in the world.

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