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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.

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