Nov 24, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh (3) kicks a field goal during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Vikings and Packers tied 26-26. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
If Roger Goodell gets his way, a play that has long been central to football will soon be eliminated from the NFL. And I’m not talking about kickoffs.
In their eternal effort to improve the game, Goodell says the league is considering doing away with extra point kicks.
“The extra point is almost automatic,” Goodell argued. “I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd. So it’s a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.”
Though extra point kicks would be eliminated, extra points would still exist, but in an altered form. Goodell: “There’s one proposal in particular that I’ve heard about. It’s automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball, so if you fail, you go back to six.”
I get Goodell’s argument about extra points being too automatic and boring, but I’m not sure I agree that the right move is to eliminate them from the game entirely.
Instead of doing away with extra point kicks, why not make the kicks themselves more challenging? Move the line of scrimmage back ten or fifteen yards. And how about narrowing the goalposts too while you’re at it?
Narrowing the goalposts would be a good idea in general I think, with the increase in kicking accuracy in recent years. Place kicking has just gotten way too easy.
If you’re dead-set on doing way with extra point kicks entirely, the proposal to award an automatic seven points after a touchdown, and then give the team the option to essentially gamble one point on the possibility of getting two is also not bad. You need to keep that element of strategy in the game. Also, think of all the awesome Twitter arguments that would never happen if the two point conversion left the game.
I think you could even take it a step further. Say a team scores a touchdown late and if they take the automatic seven, they’re still two points behind and headed for defeat. Under Goodell’s proposal, they could try for 8, but even if they make it they’re still one point behind. So why not give the team the option to go for MORE than a two point conversion?
Under my new proposed system, they could gamble two of their points and potentially achieve a nine-point touchdown. The line of scrimmage for such a conversion would naturally be deeper than a regular two-point conversion.
Under this hypothetical rule, you could gamble ALL of your points if you chose, potentially maxing out at a 14-point touchdown. Imagine the crazy late game scenarios that might unfold. Teams gambling all seven of their TD points and having to convert from, say, the 35.
There are lots of different ways you could go with this. The other option of course is to just leave the game the way it is, cause if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
But nah. Then Roger Goodell wouldn’t be able to leave his stamp.