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NFL Contemplating a 42-Yard Extra Point Attempt

With the NFL trying to keep the game as exciting as possible, the league is weighing moving extra-point attempts back to the 25-yard line.

Matt Prater
Matt Prater

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The extra point after a touchdown may not be such a gimme moving forward.

According to Judy Batista of NFL.com, the powers that be are heavily considering tweaking the yardage for an extra point for potential trial run as early as the 2014 preseason.

“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 42-yard attempt — rather than the 2-yard line, where it is currently placed.”

The overall reasoning for this proposed change seems to be the lacks of misses by the field of NFL kickers, making the extra point try somewhat pointless.  In the 2013 season, only five of 1,267 extra point attempts were actually unsuccessful, making their success rate 99.6 percent.

For a league that prides itself as being the most exciting, those numbers most likely do not sit well with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. By extending the extra point to a 42-yard attempt, that would put the percentage of successful kicks made into the 83 range, changing the strategy behind extra points completely.

The coaches’ thought processes would have to change a bit after scoring touchdowns if this new rule were to be green lighted.  Do they want to pursue essentially a 42-yard field goal or attempt a two-point conversion?  One would suspect that inclement weather would play the largest factor when possibly making the decision to go for two instead of risking a longer kick attempt.  In severe snow, wind, or rain, there would be a higher chance of success with the standard two-point conversion than actually running the risk of missing a 42-yard extra point attempt.

The kickers themselves might be the biggest proponent of this potential change, due to the certain increase in their value to a franchise. Teams would most likely shell out more money for solid veteran kicking specialists and their draft value could potentially escalate a few rounds as well with this proposed change.

It would also force kickers to be up on their game and competition might be fiercer amongst the league’s kicking community.  In the same article on NFL.com, former special teams coach Mike Westhoff, who recently retired after a long career with the Dolphins and Jets, was quoted as saying “If you’re not a 90 percent field goal kicker under these circumstances, I’m not sure I want you.”

For now, this is in the early stages of discussion and no decision has been made either way on the fate of the extra point.  Regardless, it shows that the NFL is looking for ways to be more competitive and evolve.  Some of the rules have been around since the leather helmet days and could certainly use a good tweaking.

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