The Washington Post

Should the NFL eliminate the extra point? Roger Goodell says it’s possible.

Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos adds a PAT in the AFC divisional playoff game. (Jack Dempsey / AP)

The point-after touchdown attempt is as close to a gimme as there is in professional sports with only a handful failing to split the uprights in the 2013 regular season. But that doesn’t mean they have a future in the game.

In an interview with Rich Eisen, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on “NFL Total Access” that the Competition Committee may just do away with it altogether.

“The extra point is almost automatic,” Goodell said. “I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd [attempts]. So it’s a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.”

All right, but what kind of new scoring system would replace it and how would it work with the option to go for two?

“There’s one proposal in particular that I’ve heard about. It’s automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown,” Goodell said, “but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball. So if you fail, you go back to six.”

Extra points have had a 99.1 percent success rate since 2004; there were 1,256 conversions in 1,261 attempts (99.6) this season. Earlier this month, New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick confessed how much he hates the PAT when asked about special teams in the playoffs.

“I personally would love to see the kicking game remain as a very integral part of the game so that the kickoffs are returned and so that extra points are not over 99 percent converted because that’s not what extra points were when they were initially put into the game back 80 years ago, whatever it was,” he said (via

Belichick sounds as bored by the kick as the average fan.

“I would be in favor of not seeing it be an over 99 percent conversion rate,” Belichick said. “It’s virtually automatic. That’s just not the way the extra point was put into the game. It was an extra point that you actually had to execute and it was executed by players who were not specialists, they were position players. It was a lot harder for them to do. The Gino Cappellettis of the world and so forth and they were very good. It’s not like it is now where it’s well over 99 percent. I don’t think that’s really a very exciting play because it’s so automatic.”

Not surprisingly, one kicker hates the idea.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.



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Cindy Boren · January 21, 2014