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NFL changes extra point rule.


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NFL owners approve rules changes for extra points, conversions
Alex Marvez FOX Sports

MAY 19, 2015 6:12p ET

Charles LeClaire / USA TODAY Sports

Extra points will be worth watching after the NFL owners voted to make them more challenging.

At least New England head coach Bill Belichick and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can agree upon one thing.

The league’s extra point needed to change.

That’s exactly what happened Tuesday at the NFL Spring Meetings in San Francisco. The line of scrimmage will now move to the 15-yard line for extra-point attempts for the 2015 season. Two-point conversions will still be attempted from the 2-yard line, but the defense can now score two points if returning a turnover for a touchdown.

The proposal passed by a 30-2 margin. Oakland and Washington cast the dissenting votes, FOX Sports 1 NFL Insider Mike Garafolo first reported.

Belichick began publically pushing for reform in 2011 when he called the extra point a “non-play” because of the ease in which it was being converted compared to previous generations. Statistics have proven his point. The league’s conversion rate the past four seasons was 99.5 percent.

Goodell gradually came around to Belichick’s way of thinking and espoused the same belief in January 2014.

“You want to add excitement with every play,” Goodell said.

Finding the best way to add those thrills -- either through a more difficult PAT or greater enticement for a two-point conversion try -- hasn’t been easy.

Goodell first floated what I thought was the most simple and sound idea. Award seven points for a touchdown with the two-point conversion remaining an option. If a team tries for two and fails, take a point off the scoreboard.

That concept didn’t gain traction. Neither did Belichick’s 2014 proposal of moving the line of scrimmage to the 25-yard line for extra-point attempts.

However, the NFL’s competition committee did find willingness among team owners -- assuredly at Goodell’s urging a la the overtime rules change in 2012 -- to conduct a preseason experiment last summer where the line of scrimmage was moved to the 15-yard line. The success rate dipped slightly to 94.3 percent with eight misses out of 141 attempts.

Of course, that’s the preseason. Only the gamblers would be sweating a botched PAT. Blowing what was once considered an automatic point -- especially in a critical situation -- would draw a much greater fan response during the regular season and playoffs.

One can argue that dome-based teams will enjoy a long-term advantage compared to franchises whose extra points will primarily be attempted outdoors, especially in cities known for nasty weather conditions. Nobody knows for sure until a sufficient sample size is collected.

But even if an indoor squad has the edge, that doesn’t mean the league will automatically seek to tweak extra points again. Fairness isn’t an NFL guarantee. For example, this is a league that regularly gives host teams in the Eastern and Central time zones a competitive advantage by booking the majority of West Coast visitors for 1 p.m. kickoffs on road games.

Such scheduling is done primarily to appease the NFL’s television partners even at the expense of competitive balance. The three- and four-letter networks (FOX included) stand to gain from the extra point change as well. Additional suspense means fewer viewers removing their eyes from the screen post-touchdown to take a bathroom break or grab another beer.

Moving the PAT back also may result in more two-point conversion attempts that fit Goodell’s “excitement” goal. Only 59 were attempted last season after 1,187 regular-season touchdowns.

Those most upset about the modification feel the extra point wasn’t broken so it didn’t need fixing in the first place. It isn’t just purists who feel this way. There are skeptics inside the NFL about whether tinkering with a 103-year-old tradition is a good idea. That’s why the new PAT line was only approved on a one-year experimental basis.

Let’s cut the competition committee some slack, though. This eight-man assembly of coaches, owners, general managers and front-office executives does their job well.

There was plenty of negative clamor initially about other changes made in recent years, especially those related to bettering player safety. Yet the game wasn’t negatively affected by rules prohibiting hits on defenseless players or barring running backs from leading with their helmets outside the tackle box.

Should the new PAT rules prove successful, it would behoove Goodell and the competition committee to give more credence to Belichick’s suggestions considering his encyclopedic knowledge of the game and its history. The next positive step for the league should be adding cameras to all four corners of the end-zone to assist replay reviews, which is something else Belichick proposed in 2014 that didn’t gain traction among NFL owners until after this year’s meetings had concluded.

Belichick and Goodell won’t ever see eye-to-eye on plenty of things, including the harsh penalties given to the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady as part of the Deflategate scandal. But the two do share this in common: A love for the NFL and the direction it’s headed.

Here’s hoping both have made the right point about extra points.




One year rule change, I like the fact that defenses can score on two point tries now.


Oh and this has to be one of the worst articles I've ever read, Fox is even bad at reporting sports.

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I, too, like the idea of the defense being able to score...but I think if they force a turnover and return it 98 yards, they should be awarded a TD, not just 2 points...similar to how a defender can return a FG attempt that was too short for a TD.


The 1-year trial basis is not a bad thing either. While there are plenty of traditionalists who likely won't care for this change, they can be sold on the 1-year trial. Then, after the year, they'll be used to it and will likely accept it long term.

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If it isn't broke, don't fix it. Moving the kick back what, 10 yards or so doesn't make the game more exciting. If you wanted to stop a team from attempting a one-point play, you shouldn't have let them in the end zone. For fuck's sake, just make a TD 7 points and do away with it entirely and make the two point conversion a must-attempt. THAT makes the game more exciting.

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Belichick is correct....99.5% is essentially a non-play.


I like the idea that the ball can now be returned by the defense for 2 points.


I also think the lack of a 360 degree camera angle is absurd. There is so much money in this league, and we have the technology to read a fucking license plate from space, but are still struggling to get NFL calls right?....come on, man.

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