Extra-point kicks could get extra interesting this summer.
Of course, even mildly interesting would be an upgrade.
NFL kickers made a record 99.6 percent of their PATs last season, making that the most sure-fire play in football. But according to NFL.com’s Judy Battista, the league’s competition committee has discussed experimenting in the preseason with placing the ball at the 25-yard line on extra-point kicks — which would mean 42-yard attempts. Last season, kickers made 83 percent of their field-goal attempts that were 40 to 49 yards long.
“There’s no consensus yet,” a committee member told Battista of moving back PATs. “We could experiment in preseason, but we are not yet.”
Moving the kicks back presumably would increase the likelihood of teams attempting two-point conversions, which currently have a success rate of around 50 percent.
Even though extra points are practically gimmes, things go haywire every so often.
In 2007, New Orleans was trailing at Jacksonville, 20-13, and scored an unbelievable, multilateral, 75-yard touchdown in the final seconds. The clock expired during the play. It was one for the ages, the NFL’s answer to “The Play” in the 1982 California-Stanford game.
All that Saints kicker John Carney had to do was make the extra point.
And he missed it wide right.
But that’s a once-in-a-decade gaffe in the NFL, if that.
Missing a PAT is like tossing a coin and having it land on its edge.
“It’s virtually automatic,” said New England Coach Bill Belichick, whose kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, was 44 for 44 on PAT tries this season. “That’s just not the way the extra point was put into the game. It was an extra point that you actually had to execute, and it was executed by players who were not specialists, they were position players.
“It was a lot harder for them to do. The Gino Cappellettis of the world and so forth, and they were very good. I don’t think that’s really a very exciting play because it’s so automatic.”