Many were confused by the fact that the Lions were not required to run a point-after try after taking a 29-27 lead with no time left on Sunday. Some suggested the officials erred by not running one more play. According to the league, it was handled properly.
The provision comes from Rule 4, Section 8, Article 2(c) of the rulebook: “If a touchdown is made on the last play of a period, the Try attempt shall be made (except during a sudden-death period, or if a touchdown is scored during a down in which time in the fourth period expires, and a successful Try would not affect the outcome of the game).”
The key is the presence of the word “successful.” An unsuccessful try on Sunday, if it resulted in a turnover and a return for two points, would have affected the outcome of the game. But the rule doesn’t say “successful or unsuccessful.” Although the smart move in situations like that would be to take a knee 100 out of 100 times, why not require the team to execute a successful kneel down?
They don’t end a game prematurely when the team leading the game needs to simply take one or two or three knees. Why end a game when there’s an incredibly slim — but not impossible — chance that things will go haywire?
Here’s a thought — change the rule to “successful or unsuccessful.” That way, the try would happen in any game that results in the touchown with no time on the clock creating a one- or two-point lead.