Many rule change proposals were bandied about yesterday ahead of the scheduled NFL Competition Committee meeting, but perhaps one of the more interesting suggestions I’ve heard will not be among those brought up in said meeting.
According to Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II, head coach Mike Tomlin has an idea of his own to make extra points more compelling, rather than simply doing away with them wholesale.
Qualifying his statement by saying that he doesn’t know if Tomlin has ever even commented on it publicly, Rooney said that Tomlin’s idea would be to move the point after attempt from the two-yard line to the one-yard line.
This seems to be a more rewarding alteration than the one that will actually be brought up and considered, which would be to move the line of scrimmage for the point after attempt all the way back to the 25-yard line.
The logic behind Tomlin’s suggestion—which, again, is not actually on the table, at least not this year—would be to encourage teams to go for two-point attempts more frequently by shortening the distance to the goal line.
Rather than trying to make an extra point have all the excitement of a glorified field goal, enticing teams to go for that eight-point score seems to be a better solution to the apparent problem that the league has identified, which is that extra point attempts are simply not very interesting or entertaining.
Backing them up can only make them so much more interesting. Instead, encourage teams to move away from them naturally rather than take them away artificially by automatically awarding the point.
A one-yard and two-yard goal-to-go scenario calls for two completely different playbooks, so moving the line of scrimmage up a yard really opens up the options for an offensive coordinator to take advantage of.
Naturally, it surely makes running the ball a far more enticing option. I’m sure if we look at statistics of third down or goal line plays from one versus two yards out, we’ll find not only a greater occurrence of running the ball, but also a greater success rate while carrying the ball on the ground, in the former.
Wouldn’t you imagine that somebody like Chip Kelly would take advantage of this option to go for two points? After all, if you have a better than 50 percent success rate on two-point attempts, then you’re coming out ahead in comparison to hitting on 100 percent of your extra point tries.
I have a hard time imagining that the Competition Committee will actually approve the change of moving the line of scrimmage for extra point attempts back to the 25-yard line. Frankly, the idea just seems silly to me.
Hopefully one day Tomlin’s suggestion will actually be on the table and be given fair consideration, because I think it’s a better solution to the league’s concerns than any others I’ve heard proposed.