There’s increasing talk at the league meetings this week that the NFL may be ready for a significant rules change that would make two-point conversion attempts much more common.
The change is simple: Move extra points from the 2-yard line to the 1-yard line. That wouldn’t have any noticeable change on the success rate of extra point kicks (the difference to an NFL kicker between essentially a 19-yard field goal and a 20-yard field goal is nothing), but it would significantly change how often coaches go for two. From the 2-yard line, where extra points have been since 1994, two-point conversions are successful slightly less than half the time. But from the 1-yard line, two-point conversions would likely be successful more than half the time. That means that most of the time, going for two would have a better expected payoff than kicking the extra point.
There’s not currently a specific rules proposal regarding moving extra points to the 1-yard line, but Sal Paolantonio reported on SportsCenter this morning that there’s an undercurrent of movement toward making the change. And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told Peter King in today’s Monday Morning Quarterback that there’s a chance of such a change.
It’s unclear, however, how enthusiastic the owners are about making such a change. The league might experiment with having all extra points at the 1-yard line for the preseason, just to see how big a difference it makes. Then, if owners, coaches, players and fans like it, the move could be made for the regular season in 2016.
One thing is clear: The league wants to find a way to make the extra point a more interesting play. Right now, it’s the most boring scoring play in sports.