League’s Attempt To Add Suspense To PAT Would Have Opposite Effect

A rule proposal introduced by the New England Patriots to push back the line of scrimmage for point after attempts to the 25-yard line did not pass yesterday, but it also was not voted down; rather, it was tabled, to be revisited at a later date.

The owners did conclude, however, that they will study the proposal on a trial basis during the preseason this year, setting the line of scrimmage for point after attempts at the 20-yard line for the first two weeks of the preseason.

An attempt from the line of scrimmage at the 20-yard line would be the equivalent of about a 43-yard field goal.

Whether or not that is a reasonable level of difficulty for the attempt is a debate worth having, but I am of the opinion that this rule change ultimately should not pass for a completely different reason.

Having a different line of scrimmage for point after attempts and two-point attempts completely removes the gamesmanship aspect of the two-point try.

After all, it would be unreasonable to execute a two-point try from the 20-yard line. Especially so when you have your extra point personnel on the field.

Presumably, part of the hypothetical legislation in this rule would forbid two-point attempts on fake extra point attempts from the two-yard line, so a team’s intentions are by necessity telecast before they even step on the field based on where the ball is lined up.

And given the 18-yard difference, it will be fairly obvious.

I understand and in part empathize with the league’s seeming desire to bring an element of suspense or excitement to the extra point attempt that, if we’re being honest, simply doesn’t exist.

But it’s not an aspect of the game that beckons to be addressed; it’s not ‘broken’, per se, and doesn’t need to be fixed. If excitement were paramount to the league’s concerns, in addition, then it was ill-advised to move the kickoff from the 30- to the 35-yard line, drastically decreasing the number of kickoffs being returned.

Aside from that, this particular change proposal, I believe, fails to achieve its desired effect to begin with. The average 43-yard field goal is not particularly exciting to begin with, unless it’s a game-winner or draws a team even.

A successful field goal is generally met with silent approval by the entire stadium for the home team, barring special circumstances. A 43-yard extra point will continue to draw nothing but yawns. That doesn’t solve the league’s ‘problem’.

And, as I’ve highlighted above, I believe it only adds more problems and further chips away at the potential for excitement by removing the possibility of a fake extra point attempt. If the league really feels that it must tinker with this aspect of the game, they’d better find a more rewarding solution.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • joed32

    When is the last time we saw a fake extra point?

  • dkoy85

    I think the excitement factor stems from a missed field goal, not the field goal itself. The game is 20-14 because of a missed PAT and the Steelers work it down the field, score, and attempt PAT- that 43 yard field goal becomes intense because of the missed field goal before it. Can’t say I’m for or against- never really gave the affect it would have on the 2 point conversions.

  • MP34

    Please leave things as they are, or at worst, simply move the PAT to the 10 yard line. Honestly, I’m fine with the game the way it is. Stop tinkering with what sells! Somewhere in NYC Roger Goodell is riding to work in a silver Rolls Royce with a hot pink spoiler on the back…
    If the league brass wants to make the NFL more fun? Work to develop player equipment that can allows for amazing hits, and allows both players get up afterward, and run back to the huddle. Or add consistent calls that also value players knees as much as their heads.

  • Steelers12328882

    I think the extra point itself becomes exciting too, as you said intense. If it’s 21-14 and the Steelers score, then you have to make that kick to tie it up. I wouldn’t care about teams not being able to do fake extra point attempts anymore, because it’s usually a horrible play to begin with, especially concerning the Steelers. Our punter is our holder on extra points.

  • chris ward

    I hope they keep it the way it has been with the PAT. I like the normalcy of the PAT, being that it has been that way for so long just IMO.

  • Caesar

    All this angst over extra points being too easy needs to end. It is EXTRA. It is supposed to be easy. The whole strategic point is to turn a touchdown into more points than two field goals. Leave it alone. It SHOULD be easy. Earned, but easily earned.

  • Iron Cadet

    Baltimore did it to us in the season opener in 2011 when they were up 27 to 7 (before the fake extra point) towards the end of the 3rd quarter. It was just arrogance, and one of the plays that makes me despise them.

  • Steelers58

    Move the ball to the one yard line as opposed to the two and half yd line.
    Likely see more two pt attempts. More exciting than a kick

  • Cols714

    Just get rid of them. Who wants to see a game decided because a kicker misses an XP? Make a TD 7 points unless you want to go for two.

    Giving a stupid kicker more control over the outcome of games is just dumb.

  • Nolrog

    PAT from the 20 would be more like a 37 yard FG. 20 yards to the goal line + 10 yards of the endzone to the uprights + 7 yards back the holder sets up. 13 yards is about where the punter sets up.

  • Steelers12328882

    That’s what I always thought too, and I posted that on the other article about rule changes, but now I don’t know lol. I figure Steelers Depot knows way more than me.

  • harding36

    Right. It’s 37 yards; not 42.

  • RMSteeler

    Teams with weak and/or inaccurate kickers (probably about half the league) may be tempted to go for two points more. It will be interesting to see if the percentage of blocked kicks goes up in the first two weeks of preseason. I’d think teams would put in more athletic “leapers” in kick attempts. If a defense could block a kick and possibly return it for more points, that may sway teams to attempt more two point conversions. A blocked kick return of 70yds is probably a higher probablility than of a fumble recovery or interception return of 90+ yds on a two point attempt. I’d rather see a two point attempt from the one and a kick attempt from the current position. If they are only doing this as a trial during the first two preseason games, does that mean they won’t make the rule change official until 2015?

  • treeher

    Scenario: Team A scores a TD and kicks PAT from the 20 in clear, dry weather with no wind. Later on, Team B scores a TD, but by that time wind is 30 MPH and it’s raining hard. The wind blows their 43 yard PAT wide right. Where is the equity in that? Kicking from the current distance minimizes the weather impact for both teams.

  • CrazyTerry

    Since when have 43 yard attempts been routine???

  • Ben Anderson

    I think he’s factoring in the additional 5 feet that they are moving the goal posts up in that estimate.

  • Justin Barlow

    I like Tomlin’s idea to move it to the 1 yard line. You keep the gamesmanship aspect and teams are much more incentivized to go for 2 given the higher percentage of the one yard

  • Joe

    They are increasing the height of the goalposts 5 feet. Not moving the goalposts.

    He just got it wrong, it’s a 37 yard PAT attempt.

  • Ben Anderson

    I’m aware of that. I wrote “the additional 5 feet up”.
    Given the the goal posts today sit at 10 feet, that height is being increased by 50%, to 15 feet. Though the ball will not travel further on a line measured from the spot of the kick to the goal posts, the ball will have to be kicked higher and most likely further to make it through the uprights as a result of the change.
    He isn’t the only person to make this reference with respect to this consequence of the new rule.

  • Richard Edlin

    I like the proposed change – although I see a different outcome. Haven’t you heard of Doug Flutie? If you line up on the 2y line a drop kick would remain a valid option even if the place kick isn’t. At Heinz Field, I’d feel more comfortable kicking the drop kick from the 2y line than the place kick from the 43y on an adverse weather day.

    I don’t think there’s any reason why any excitement/uncertainty should be lost and think you’re showing a lack of imagination here!

  • Jeff Anoble

    No matter how many crazy insane rule changes that jeopardize the history of the game these tin gods led by Roger GODell come up with, it seems the owners are voting against these drastic rule changes…….so far.

  • Brendon Glad

    Old Bill….still not accepting responsibility when he was running up the score on someone and idiotically had Rob Gronkowski on the field for a PAT in a 35 point game with less than 2 minutes left. The first of his broken arm issues. So now the PAT is just a stupid play. man that guy gets on my nerves sometimes.

  • Brendon Glad

    I loved when they did it. It was just the spark the Steelers needed to get that season turned around very quickly. But it WAS a very classless thing to do. I hate them with all my heart also.