All of this NFL offseason news related to kicking could be a good sign for the Indianapolis Colts. Just this week, the league voted to extend the goal posts an additional five feet in the air to make it more obvious if high-flying kicks are in or out. The league is also going to experiment this coming preseason with kicking extra points spotted at the 20 yard line (making for a 38-yard extra point). Due to the Colts’ talent and depth at kicker, longer extra points might work in the team’s favor.
The Colts have long been stable in their kicking game, while other teams in the league tend to sign and release kickers multiple times in a season. Future Hall of Fame kicker Adam Vinatieri is nearing retirement, but is still fit and accurate enough to warrant a two-year deal. Last season, he kicked better than 90 percent from around the proposed new extra point distance (making 10-of-11 attempts), and he was right around 90 percent from up to 50 yards.
If disaster strikes, punter Pat McAfee (newly signed to a five-year deal) has been practically begging for a chance to kick at the uprights. According to his Colts bio, he converted 73 percent of his field goals with a long of 52 yards during his career with West Virginia University, where he covered both punting and place kicking duties. And now, the Colts have signed Purdue standout Carson Wiggs, also capable of both punting and place kicking, with a big leg and solid accuracy.
Given the special teams resources at the Colts’ disposal, the league could make the longer extra point permanent today, and it would be a non-issue for them (and a potential obstacle for the opposition). But it will feel a little odd watching teams kick field goals from closer and get three points for it.