At the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Fla. earlier this month, the owners voted to experiment with moving the extra point attempt back to the 20-yard line for the first two preseason games this year. This would make the extra point attempt a 38-yard field goal instead of the traditional 20-yard attempt. There have been plenty of people on both sides of the change, though, perhaps the biggest voice is coming from Chicago Bears Pro Bowl kicker Robbie Gould.
In an interview on Tuesday, Gould voiced his opposition to the move, stating safety issues for players and calling into question the necessity of the move. Gould is the third-most accurate kicker in NFL history and as such, his voice should carry a decent amount of weight within NFL circles. If he is so opposed to the new rule change, it’s time he led the charge against it.
Almost every kicker asked about the rule change is opposed to it because they feel as though the NFL is undervaluing what they do for their teams. With the proposed rule change, it seems as if the NFL is penalizing kickers for being too good at their job. Gould shared this sentiment in his interview:
“Because Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and these guys have become so good at passing the football and going over 5,000 yards per season, are you going to get rid of play-action passing?” Gould said. “A linebacker or a defense is so good at blitzing, are you going to get rid of that? No, you’re going to embrace it.
“The NFL has made our position become so good because the competition is so thick; if you fail to perform, they’ll cut you right away and get somebody else regardless of your salary because kicker’s salaries usually don’t mean a ton in regards to the salary cap. Instead of embracing how good the position has become like they have for other positions, they’re actually trying to diminish what that position has become and completely overhaul it.”
When one of the best kickers in the history of the game comes out so strongly against a rule that changes the dynamic of the game, the NFL should pay attention. If Gould is able to garner support from his fellow kickers, it shouldn’t be too difficult for them to force the NFL to look deeper into this move, and possibly curb the changes until a later date. Because the NFL has shown their willingness to do what they feel is right in the past, it will take a unified front from the men at the position affected to be able to slow this change down.
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