The NFL Commissioner, Rodger Goodell, recently sat down to discuss some potential upcoming changes with Rich Eisen, one of which is the possible abolition of the extra point after touchdowns. Personally, I believe this time-honored tradition is not going to be missed much if the NFL does away with it.
In his interview, Goddell commented on the triviality of the point after attempt: “The extra point is almost automatic. 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 hits the nail on the head with his last comment. In the three to four hours of a standard NFL game, the few seconds it takes to finish off each extra point are some of the most boring, anticlimactic moments of an otherwise exciting game.
Marc Sessler reports that extra points have been converted 99.1% of the time since 2004. The 0.9% chance of seeing a kick blocked are not even worth the wasted time. If the defensive team were allowed to return a blocked extra point to the opposite endzone for points, it might be a different story, but the system as it stands makes the point after almost pointless.
Goodell stated that there have been proposals for ways to adjust the current system such as giving an automatic seven points for a touchdown, but allowing the offensive team to opt to go for two if they want. The catch is, if the offense does not get the two point conversion, their points scored goes to 6 – for some of you turn of the millennium gamers out there, this may be oddly reminiscent of the NFL Blitz games.
While this system is not necessarily perfect, it certainly would be a fine alternative to the current extra point process. The NFL could save time, reduce chances for players to get hurt on pointless plays and increase the amount of fan engagement in the game with this potential adjustment. Go for it, Roger!