The NFL Competition Committee has discussed experimenting this preseason with a longer -- much longer -- extra-point try. According to one member, the committee's meetings this weekend included preliminary talks about placing the ball at the 25-yard line for the extra-point kick -- which would make it a 43-yard attempt -- rather than the 2-yard line, where it is currently placed. Last season, kickers missed just five of 1,267 extra-point attempts, a conversion rate of 99.6 percent -- so good that the extra point has become almost automatic, leading Commissioner Roger Goodell to recently suggest its demise could be imminent. A longer extra-point try would certainly make things more interesting and require significantly more strategizing. The conversion rate of field goals between 40 and 49 yards last season was 83 percent. The last time the extra-point conversation rate regularly fell below 90 percent was in the 1930s and early 1940s. That would surely give coaches something to ponder when weighing whether to kick for one point or try for two, with the success rate for two-point conversion attempts typically around 50 percent. "There is no consensus yet," said the committee member. "We could experiment in preseason, but we are not there yet." No matter. It seems likely that the extra point as it is currently tallied will eventually be the latest victim of the kickers' own success. It will follow in the footsteps of sudden-death overtime, which was altered first for the 2010 playoffs and then for the regular season in 2012 after years of deliberation, sparked in large part by the kickers' increasing accuracy. Owners feared a Super Bowl might someday be decided by an overtime coin flip, with one team booting the winning field goal while the opposing squad never had a chance to touch the ball. The NFL, of course, usually moves deliberately before enacting significant rules changes. In the meantime, kickers -- through a combination of specialization, better field conditions, the now-omnipresent kicking gurus and camps and rules changes -- are only getting better. Kickers made a higher percentage of field-goal (86.5 percent) and extra-point attempts (99.6 percent) last season than they ever had before. Perhaps even more striking is how many long field-goal attempts are being made. In 2013, 67.13 percent of all field-goal attempts of at least 50 yards were good. While the numbers fluctuate from year to year, that is a sharp rise even from 2012, when just 60.92 from long distance were good, and it is dramatically up from just 10 years ago, when kickers made just 48.38 percent from 50 yards or more. To make the sea change clear, compare those figures to the career numbers of Jan Stenerud, who remains the only player enshrined in the Hall of Fame solely for his placekicking abilities. Stenerud converted 96.5 percent of his extra-point attempts but made just 66.8 percent of his field-goal tries. In his 19 seasons, he made just 17 of 64 attempts from 50 yards or more, a 26.56 percent success rate. Each of the top 10 kickers by percentage in 2013 was successful on more than 90 percent of their field-goal attempts.
NFL might experiment with making extra-point attempts longer
NFL.com | Mar 3