Roger Goodell is considering elimination of the extra point. I've been whining for 5 years now, advocating some kind of change to the XP. I just hope the league doesn't mess it up, like they did with overtime.
I realize quoting myself is not in good taste, but then again I've never been accused of good taste. Here are some of my thoughts.
Kicking field goals is such a peculiar and specialized thing. It has almost nothing to do with the rest of the sport but can be so decisive. It would be like getting extra runs in baseball by lacing up some skates and slapping a shoot-out shot after every home run.
Here's an excerpt from a diatribe in my old Washington Post column.
The extra point is something left over from gridiron football’s evolution from rugby. Originally, the ‘touchdown’ in rugby was less important than the ensuing free kick, and the points given for the touchdown and the ‘point after try’ varied during football’s early history. Today’s extra point is a vestige of football’s rugby roots. It’s football’s appendix–inconsequential, its original purpose uncertain...and safe to remove.
It's easy to see that XPs are pretty pointless, but it's harder to come up with some good ways to fix them or replace them. Here are some of my favorite ideas (and plenty more in the comments):
- Must always go for 2-pt conversion
- 1 point for a try from the 1 yd-line, 2 points from the 3 (or 2 or 5 or wherever)
- A TD is always 7 full points, but a team can gamble 1 point by attempting a 2-point try from the 2.
- A team can gamble up to 3 extra points (kind of like Final Jeopardy) by attempting a conversion. So if a team bets 3 points, it can score 9 on a single TD! A failed conversion attempt makes the TD worth only 3. How exciting would that be? Would you be getting up to grab another beer during one of those plays?
-The player who scores the touchdown has to kick the XP.
-The XP must be kicked from directly behind the point at which the ball crossed the plane of the goal line on the prior touchdown, as in rugby.
Just imagine if we had always had the (completely awesome) up to 3-point gamble rule, and someone came along and said, "Hey, let's get rid of that and replace it with a 1-point kick from the 2." We'd think that guy was crazy.
The status quo has the power of inertia, so as you consider any idea for a rule change, imagine if football had always been that way and whether or not we'd want to change the game to the way it actually is now.