The NFL is correct.
The extra-point attempt must be changed.
It’s too easy. NFL kickers made 99.6 percent of their
attempts last season. It’s stupid to award a point to a
team for doing something that’s about as difficult as
putting a helmet on correctly.
Imagine a TV announcer commenting on a Packers
touchdown: “Aaron Rodgers with a quarterback sneak for a
touchdown. The Packers take a 6-0 lead and the head
official checks Rodgers and his helmet has the facemask
pointing forward so the Packers get the extra point and
Such a rule would be historically stupid, but it’s
exactly the same thing with the extra point. It’s never
It would be easy to just eliminate the kick. A touchdown
is seven points. If a team wants an eighth point, they
can do so after any touchdown. If they are successful,
they get the extra point. If they fail, they lose a
point and score only six points. It has the same result
as “going for two” instead of kicking the automatic
The game is exactly the same. Every game – or 99.6
percent of them – will have the same score. In addition,
a little time will be saved by eliminating the play that
gives a free point to both teams when a touchdown is
The NFL will probably go in a different direction. The
league’s competition committee is considering a proposal
to move the ball back to the 25-yard line and make the
extra point a 43-yard attempt. It’s the way to go if
they believe they must maintain the extra point. It will
no longer be automatic.
It’s also the way to go if they want to show that other
rules need to be changed because kicking has become way
too easy from all distances.
According to statistics from a column at
nfl.com, the conversion rate of field goals between
40 and 49 yards was 83 percent last season. Kickers made
more than 67 percent of kicks of at least 50 yards. It’s
too easy, and it’s getting easier every year. Only 10
years ago, the conversion rate from 50 yards or more was
Judy Battista’s column also uses Jan Stenerud as a great
example of the improvement of kickers. He is the only
member of the Hall of Fame who was elected for doing
nothing other than kicking extra points and field goals.
He made 67 percent of his field goal attempts. He
couldn’t even get an NFL tryout with such a pathetic
lack of accuracy.
He made less than 27 percent of his attempts from 50
yards or more. It’s been a few years, but a great kicker
from 50 yards at 27 percent to 67 percent from all
kickers is way too much improvement.
Kickers are turning their season field goal percentages
into a number that should be for extra points.
The top 10 kickers made more than 90 percent of their
field goal attempts.
Mason Crosby made 89 percent of his attempts. He had his
best season ever, yet he wasn’t even close to the best
in the league. He was only 13th best in percentage of
The league’s best kicker made 25 of 26 and was 6 of 7
from 50 yards or more.
So when the NFL eliminates the extra point or moves the
attempt back a few yards, it should also move the two
uprights closer together. The “automatic” extra point
and the “easy” 50 yard field goal should be changed at
the same time.
Steve “The Homer” True writes a regular
column for The Freeman. He can be heard on the “Homer
and Thunder” show from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays on
540ESPN. He can be reached at