Say goodbye to one of the most boring, predictable plays in all of sports. And hello to more drama heaped upon the shoulders of head-coaching decisions.
In other words, it’s a good day to be a fan of the NFL.
Owners voted Tuesday, 30-2, to change the rules pertaining to point-after-touchdown attempts. Out is the traditional kick from the 2-yard line, replaced by attempts from the 15. The change is dramatic, turning a kick good for 1 point from a 20-yard chip-shot into a 33-yard field goal.
The other twist: Teams can still try for a 2-point conversion from the 2-yard line, but defenses can now score 2 points by returning the attempt – a blocked kick or a fumble or interception return – for a touchdown.
Bottom line: More extra points will be missed. More 2-point conversions will be attempted. More defenses will score points. More important will be coaching decisions after touchdowns. And more exciting will be the games.
Let’s face it, kickers have become so good that the extra point rivaled baseball’s intentional walk as the most boring “play” in all of sports. Even to an admitted traditionlist like Jason Garrett, the changes are welcomed.
“Well obviously it makes the extra point that much more challenging,” the Cowboys’ head coach told reporters after a charity Home Run Derby Tuesday afternoon at Globe Life Park in Arlington. “I think the percentage to make a PAT the way it is is north of 98 percent and I think it's about 93 percent to kick a field goal that's 33 yards. So there's a little bit of a difference there obviously. I'm glad they did the thing where the defense can return it and get two points. I think that's a good rule, and I'm glad they kept it at the 2-yard line.”
Because Dan Bailey has never missed a PAT (179 of 179) in his career, the Cowboys rarely try for two points. They’ve only attempted seven in Garrett’s four full seasons (converting four) and none in 2014. Bailey’s also made a stunning 38 of 40 field-goal attempts between 30-39 yards and has never missed one shorter than 34 yards.
So will Garrett take the almost automatic one point in 2015, or gamble for two?
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.