The world’s most watched sports league has now addressed the world’s most boring facet of it’s game. The extra point. Perhaps only the one foot PGA putt can come close to the automatic nature of this play. Not even a Lebron James uncontested slam can be used in this comparison. Since 2010, over 99% of the time, extra points were made in the NFL. So now, the kick becomes a 33 yard boot for a single point. This rules change comes on the heels of the NFL experimenting with longer distances and narrower goal posts (which is not a good idea to change the equipment of the game). How much impact are we talking about? According to NFL data, field goals from 33 yards in the last five years were made at just under 93%. Last year, only two were missed out of 41 attempts. So how much impact will this have?
NFL kickers are ridiculous accurate in their craft. Can this provide enough excitement for the fans to not go to the refrigerator or concession stand after a scored touchdown? There is already an inherent problem right after the extra point that has reared it’s ugly head with the nod towards player safety. The kickoff in the NFL now, again with the mastery and leg strength of today’s kicker, is obsolete with many of them flying so deep into the end zone there are no returns. So you have about a 3-4 minute window (with the television commercials) of boring plays incorporated into the game. This move on the extra point is a step in the right direction but I am not sure it will accomplish everything it could.
Let’s assume that the potential of the excitement of the kickoff is not going to be tampered with, especially in this “concussion” sensitive age we have currently in football. But with the extra points success rate just affected by 5 percent, is there other things to consider (especially with it butting against the end zone kickoffs that result in just a sprint for the kickoff team to the goal line)? Perhaps it is time to give options. Fine, take your shot with the ball snapped from the 15 yard line. Oh, you want TWO points? Well, you can run a play from the two (only done less than 5% of the time in the NFL last year) OR you can choose to snap the ball from the 30 yard line now. That makes it a 47 yard extra POINT. Even then, the talent of the NFL kicker is mind boggling but at least it is more “possible” that there is a miss and also it gives the head coach another way of taking TWO points (which adds more excitement to the game) than the old fashioned way, which no coach takes advantage of in today’s game. The statistics for 40-49 yard field goals attempts in 2014 has kickers making 78% of those kicks. But that is a better and more exciting possibility than going from 99% to 92.8% plus adding in the “bonus” factor of another point added.
It is time to REALLY address the boring parts of the NFL game. Player safety is paramount so kickoffs are a given that it will stay like it is (though I don’t understand why punts are still used being that player safety is about the same risk on that play). Let’s give the game a boost. Add the possibility of points to the kicking game beyond simply making the one point attempt just slightly harder. It is the best, most watched sport in the world. Keep us glued to the action by enhancing the 3-4 minute yawn of the extra point/kickoff. Take that next step out of the box. What do you think? Please leave comments below.