It’s always interesting each spring to see what kind of rule changes the NFL will make. This year, much of the attention surrounded extra points. Would the league move back the ‘automatic’ kick?
The answer turned out to be yes, kind of.
First off, the NFL decided to change the length of its goal posts. The current posts have been made taller by five feet, which should eliminate most of those tough-to-call kicks that go over the top of the uprights. It’s a small change, but there’s nothing wrong with it. This goal post extension simply gives the kickers a taller window to kick within and it will make things easier on officials.
But when it comes to the PAT, only some preliminary changes have been made. PATs will be snapped from the the 20-yard line during the first two games of the preseason, making it a 38-yard attempt.
For now, that’s it. The 38-yard PAT will be reviewed after the start of the preseason, so obviously a permanent change wouldn’t happen until next year. To me, that’s the best way to go about this whole thing. Let’s see how a longer kick fares and if it works, then move forward.
My guess is that it won’t make a huge difference. A 38-yarder right down the middle is a chip shot in the NFL. The new distance would likely result in a few more misses over the course of an entire year, but nothing drastic.
We’ll see what the ‘new’ PAT looks like this August, but for now, it looks like kick will remain automatic.