The extra point has been a hot topic at this week’s NFL annual meeting in Phoenix.
The league’s 32 owners did not vote on the proposed changes in the Competition Committee report, but there was widespread agreement that the rule should be changed.
“I think in the next 30 days, you will see the Competition Committee, in conjunction with a lot of coaches, develop a couple of alternatives and be ready to put something forward for potentially a vote in May,” Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL Competition Committee said.
The increasing accuracy in the kicking game has made the extra point virtually automatic — to the point where it’s sometimes referred to as a “celebration play.”
“All teams pretty much said the same thing; it’s time to make this play a football play,” said McKay.
In its review, the committee examined field goal percentages from 1966 through last year. In 1970, kickers converted 70.4 percent of all field-goal attempts from 20 to 29 yards — the same range from which extra points are kicked. By 2014 the conversion rate of kicks from that distance had risen to 97.6 percent.
Proposals submitted to the committee in recent years have suggested ways to make the extra point more challenging. One suggestion submitted last year led to an experiment during the first two weeks of the 2014 preseason: On extra-point attempts, the ball was snapped from the 15-yard line instead of the 2-yard line, making it a 33-yard kick. During those two weeks, kickers missed only eight of 141 attempted extra points.
Later in the season, the committee approved two changes to extra-point attempts for the Pro Bowl in January:
Keeping in mind that kickers at the Pro Bowl get little practice time and kick with unfamiliar snappers and holders, the narrower goal posts and greater distance made the extra point more challenging; four of six extra points attempted with the modified rules were converted in the game.
Look for movement on the extra-point rule from the Competition Committee in the next 30 days. Follow Troy Vincent, executive vice president of football operations (@TroyVincent23) and NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) on Twitter for updates.