Back in the very old days, the Cleveland Browns had a placekicker named Lou “The Toe” Groza.
He didn’t kick soccer-style. He was an overweight “toe kicker” who played tackle when he wasn’t kicking.
Despite all of that, he earned another nickname: “Mr. Automatic” by rarely missing an extra point.
You see, kicking an extra point wasn’t a gimme in those days.
These days, every NFL kicker is Mr. Automatic.
In 2014, NFL kickers converted 99.3% of all extra point attempts.
NFL owners are looking to change that … to put some excitement back into the extra point.
Among the ideas reported to be under consideration are …
1) Bagging the extra point all together … and just give teams 7 points for a touchdown.
2) Moving the line of scrimmage back to the 15 yard line for extra point kicks.
3) Moving the line of scrimmage from the 2 yard line to the 1 yard line if a team opts to run or pass for 2 points
Ironically, all of the proposals take some ‘foot’ out of football …
Some interesting stats from 2014:
Kickers made over 97% of their field goal attempts when the line of scrimmage was around the 15 yard line … not much of a drop-off from the 2 yard line.
Teams made 47.5% of their 2-point attempts from the 2-yard line …. about 87.5% of the time that the line of scrimmage was the 1 yard line, teams punched the ball into the end zone.
So, what would you do?
Eliminate the kicked extra point … make the only option a run or pass from the 2 yard line … worth 1 point if converted.
That would give the extra point some real value … it certainly wouldn’t be automatic.
BTW: This was essentially the situation in my high school playing days … teams could earn a single extra point by either kicking or running … no extra-extra point for running or passing.
Back in those pre-soccer days, the kick was more difficult for a high-schooler than a run or pass … so, most teams ran for it.
P.S. While they’re at it, the rules committee should revamp the field goals’ point structure.
Should a 20 yard chip-shot field goal really equal 1/2 of a TD?
I don’t think so …
Let’s copy one of the most impactful inovations of all time : basketball’s 3-point line.
How about 1 point for FGs less than 25 yards … 2 for kicks from 25 to 50 yards out … and 3 points for FGs over 50 yards?
Let’s get creative guys …
And, oh yeah … if you’re going to take the foot out of football, how about renaming the league?
Maybe NFL should stand for National Fully-inflated-ball League.