In an interview with NFL Network on Monday, commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL is considering a rule change to eliminate the extra-point attempt after touchdowns. This comes after a regular season in which NFL kickers missed just five of their 1,261 PAT attempts, and four of the five misses were blocked.
One proposal that league owners are mulling over would give a team seven points after a touchdown. If that team wanted to go for an eighth point by running the ball into the end zone or passing for a two-point conversion, they would risk a point. If they failed, they would go back to six points.
“The extra point is almost automatic," Goodell said. "I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd [attempts]. So it's a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.”
The extra point has become the most boring play in football.
Ravens fans, can you remember the last time something eventful happened on an extra point, besides holder Sam Koch faking one for a two-point play in that blowout win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011?
The Ravens have had some pretty reliable kickers in their history -- Matt Stover, Justin Tucker and, yes, even Billy Cundiff for a short while. And when it comes to tacking on those extra points after touchdowns, Ravens kickers have missed just two of their 597 PAT attempts since coming to Baltimore in 1996.
Stover missed one during that inaugural season and Steven Hauschka had one blocked in 2009 (and he was released shortly afterward, though not just for that). That’s it.
I’m sure the NFL will argue that eliminating the extra point will eliminate a few plays from each game in which someone could get hurt. (Remember, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski first broke his forearm last season while blocking on an extra point.) And I’m sure they will get some kind of financial benefit, too, perhaps by adding a few more minutes of commercials per TV broadcast.
Still, change is needed, whether it is moving extra points back, narrowing the uprights or making 300-pounders kick them (just kidding about that last one -- well, kind of).
Heck, I wouldn’t be opposed to eliminating the extra-point kick after touchdowns and making the offenses have to run or throw for the seventh point with the option to go for two from a distance that is further out.
Whatever the NFL decides, I applaud them for being progressive and trying to spice up or eliminate a play that has become “almost automatic” in Baltimore and beyond.