Owners will get together next week and vote on some proposed rule changes in the NFL for next season. The Washington Redskins are suggesting kickoffs be moved up to the 40-yard line; the New England Patriots want coaches to have the option to challenge a decision by an official at any time; the Indianapolis Colts are looking to allow teams to open or close a retractable roof. There are some fairly attractive proposals to consider this year, but I think one is being overlooked, and it has the potential to really change the game. The Patriots want the extra point to be moved back to the 25-yard line, which would be absolutely great for competition, especially late in the game.
Here’s the situation: Your team — we’ll say you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan — just scored late in the game to tie it up with Washington. This game is an extra point away from locking up a big win for Dallas, but instead of lining up at the 3-yard line and chipping one in, the special teams unit trots out to the 25-yard line for what will be a challenging extra point.
You can complain all you want about how the NFL is trying to dull down the game because of injury, but this an excellent, undeniable chance to bring a little bit of that “lost” excitement. All of a sudden, a chip-in extra point is no longer a given make. It’s something that requires a little more concentration and, if it’s late, more pressure.
If you’re saying this is all unnecessary for one, lousy point, why are you in support of the extra point at all? If attempts continue to be taken from such a close distance, it’s only a matter of time before the extra point is done away with and teams are either automatically awarded the seventh point, or just kept at six. You’re asking for a more drastic change in that scenario.
Can you imagine a game coming down to an extra point from further out? Everyone gets a little more of a thrill, which is ultimately better for the game, and — get ready to celebrate — the NFL probably won’t be able to find a way to dub this as being an extreme risk to players as the battle for players and head injuries wages on.
We’re staring a positive change straight in the face. Both fans and teams would surely benefit from something like this because of an extra point that is no longer practically guaranteed. Let’s hope this is a proposal that passes next week.