Not necessary for NFL to eliminate extra points

Extra points can be changed, sure, but keep them in NFL games

1/21/14 in NFL   |   ZacWassink   |   74 respect

Dec 29, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski (3) kicks for the extra point against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Bills 34-20.0 Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY SportsThe extra point. That's what you are concentrating on right now, Roger Goodell?

Rumors had been swirling about throughout the second half of the 2013 NFL regular season that the league could be looking at changing or all-out eliminating extra points. League commissioner Goodell spoke about the issue during Monday's edition of NFL Network program “NFL Total Access.”

“The extra point is almost automatic,” he explained. “"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.”

Goodell also offered an idea: “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.”

While my love of the NFL grows with every season, there is no denying that the league could use plenty of significant changes. Roughing the Passer penalties need a significant overhaul. It would also benefit all within the NFL if clear fumbles, such as what occurred in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's NFC Championship Game, could be determined via video review.

Are extra points really that big of a problem?

The previously linked NFL.com piece states there has been a success rate of 99.1 percent on extra point attempts since 2004. While, as pointed out in that article, there is “virtually zero drama attached to the point after,” those plays are not, in fact, automatic. They can also have a significant impact on a game.

You don't have to take it to Google to learn about the last time that an extra point made or broke a team. Think back to this past weekend. The Seattle Seahawks kicked a field goal in the fourth quarter to take a six-point lead over the San Francisco 49ers. San Fran then took the ball down to the Seattle 18-yard line with roughly 32 seconds left on the clock.

Imagine, if you will, that Colin Kaepernick would have connected with what has, in just two days, become a famous pass in the corner of the end zone. Rather than automatically being up a point in the waning moments of a one-and-done playoff game that happened to be worth a berth in the Super Bowl, the Niners would have had to boot an extra point.

Everybody can bet that, in such a scenario, Seattle would love to have a shot at keeping the 49ers from converting the try.

The standard extra point takes, from the time the scoring team is done celebrating the touchdown to the time the ball is snapped, 30 to 60 seconds to execute. Eliminating those plays would, for high-scoring affairs, shave off literally a few minutes from contests. That alone does not merit no longer making teams earn that additional point.

I'm all for the NFL making XPs more difficult to convert. Kickers are far better now than they were “___” years ago, and playing surfaces have, for the most part, improved. Moving these kicks back even ten yards would add some of the drama that is now missing from those plays.

All indications are that the upcoming Super Bowl that will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey will be the coldest SB in history. There remains the possibility that it could snow on that Sunday evening. It's also been known to get rather windy on February nights in that part of NJ.

An extra point in a tied or one-point game late in the fourth quarter could become must-see TV.

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