Extra Points? NFL Has Bigger Problems

http://miamisportsmachine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Commissioner_Goodell_2009_NFL_Draft2.jpghttp://miamisportsmachine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Commissioner_Goodell_2009_NFL_Draft2.jpghttp://miamisportsmachine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Commissioner_Goodell_2009_NFL_Draft2.jpghttp://miamisportsmachine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Commissioner_Goodell_2009_NFL_Draft2.jpghttp://miamisportsmachine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Commissioner_Goodell_2009_NFL_Draft2.jpghttp://miamisportsmachine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Commissioner_Goodell_2009_NFL_Draft2.jpgExtra Points? NFL Has Bigger Problems

Photo by Marianne O’Leary

No more PATs? Whether you love or hate the idea, it’s quite possible that extra points will be a thing of the past.

The reasoning for this is because the “extra point is almost automatic,” says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. And, since it is a rarity that an extra point is missed, there have been discussions about getting rid of it altogether.

Nothing is set in stone, but there have been some suggestions. One possibility Goodell mentioned was the following: A touchdown would be worth seven points; an eighth point could be obtained if the team scores on an additional play (essentially replacing the two-point conversion with a one-point conversion); however, if the team decides to go for two points and fails, that seven point touchdown would drop to six points.

Obviously, there are several other ideas that the NFL could implement to replace “boring” extra points:

1. Keeping touchdowns at six points and making the team have to try for a two-point conversion every time.

2. Remove extra points and have two distances for conversions (ex. Going for one point would be trying to score from the 2 yard line. Going for two points would be going from the 15 yard line).

3. Increasing the distance for extra points.

4. Having different distances with different point values for extra points (ex. For one extra point, the ball is placed at the 2 yard line. For two extra points, the ball is placed at the 30 yard line on the side of the hash mark that the other team chooses).

5. Having the player who scores the touchdown kick the extra point.

Clearly, there are even more ideas that could be the right choice.

The innovator in me is excited to see new ideas to make the game even more exciting, but the traditionalist in me loves the game how it is already.

Changing/removing extra points could definitely make the game more exciting. However, forcing more (what we currently call) two-point conversions could also lead to more injuries.

And, though the extra point is essentially an automatic point, there have been games that have been changed because of a missed extra point at the end of the game.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens. And, hopefully it will be a change for the good.

But, if you are upset that the NFL might alter extra points, you should be more upset about much bigger things.

Whether or not extra points are outdated should not be Roger Goodell’s main focus. He and the NFL should be focusing on correcting clear problems.

Miami Dolphins fans, do you remember October 24, 2010 vs the Pittsburgh Steelers? Ben Roethlisberger fumbled before entering the end zone; the Dolphins landed on the ball (and came up with the ball); but the officials decided that they couldn’t tell who had possession of the recovery because head linesman Jerry Bergman (lifelong Pittsburgher) called touchdown too quickly, and head official Gene Steratore (also lifelong Pittsburgher – seriously how was that not a conflict of interest?) did not confer with any of the other officials.

It’s 2014, and the NFL still apparently cannot get its head around fumble recoveries. I’m sure you remember Navorro Bowman “not recovering” that fumble NFC Championship.

The NFL also allows for teams to challenge plays… well a lot of them. However, if an official decides that someone committed a penalty, there’s no reviewing that.

So, the NFL has decided that referees are human and make mistakes… except for when it comes to penalties. Those they never call incorrectly.

Now, it would be absurd to let coaches challenge on every play. That game would never end. But, that’s not saying that cannot be modified.

Why not do one of these two things:

1. Allow coaches to challenge everything. But, the number of challenges stays the same (two challenges, and if you win those challenges, you get a third challenge).

2. Allow coaches to challenge everything, and the number of challenges a team has equals the amount of timeouts it has.

It’s clear that officials make mistakes, and nothing will completely eradicate them. But, coaches’ challenges are there to make sure fewer mistakes happen. Refusing to allow challenges on penalties gives way too much power to one person. As well, it gives way too much credit to the few number of officials on the field. Sometimes officials miss things that happen, and that has nothing to do with their professionalism or skill as officials. Sometimes, they’re focused on one thing while they’re missing penalties.

Challenging penalties would have a massive impact on the outcome of the game.

Dolphins’ fans probably remember the 2013 game against the Baltimore Raves, where Brent Grimes was called for “pass interference,” and that setup a Ravens touchdown.

As well, during the game against the Panthers, whether or not you think Luke Kuechly hit Rishard Matthews helmet to helmet earlier this season (or just targeted Matthews helmet with his arms – which also would have been a penalty), the Dolphins should have been able to challenge that play. A side note – Officials throw flags when they have seen a penalty. So, if an official saw Kuechly target Matthews’ head and threw the flag, I’m not sure how that flag was picked up.

Also, the previous week, the booth should have been able to review whether or not Kuechly pass interfered on the pass to Gronkowski in the end zone at the end of the game vs. the Patriots.

Another thing that should take priority over extra points is holding calls. The calls are so inconsistent. Sometimes, the officials seem to catch holding that wasn’t very significant. And other times, they miss blatant holds.

Simple solution? Stop penalizing holding. If you are not going to be consistent on holding calls, get rid of the penalty. Otherwise, one team or the other gets an advantage. I would think that the NFL competition committee should think that is important.

Or, if you allow coaches to challenge everything, that should drastically reduce the amount that players hold (since they’ll know that they are more likely to get caught).

It’s a given that the NFL will never be perfect. Changing up/removing extra points might make the league more exciting. I’d welcome a change. They could always try it and modify or go back if it doesn’t work.

But, I want these other issues addressed first. And, I’m sure most fans would be in agreement.

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Author Description

James Booth

James Booth is a life-long Miami fan. He's also a husband and father of two. As well, he's the primary writer for MiamiSportsMachine.com.

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