As expected, the NFL owners voted in a change for the extra point today during their league meetings. In an effort to put a little more excitement into a play that had become all but automatic at 99-plus percent, extra point kicks must now be tried from the 15-yard line instead of the 1 — in other words, a 33-yard kick instead of one from 19 yards. The ball will remained placed on the 2-yard line if a team wants to try a two-point conversion.
And now, defensive teams can return a blocked extra point kick, or a fumbled or intercepted two-point try, and score two points of their own with a length-of-the-field runback — just like the college rule.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians had said earlier in the day he was hoping the two-point try would be moved to the 1.5-yard line, to really make the decision tougher. Over the last 10 seasons, the Cardinals have tried 45 field goals between 30 and 33 yards, making 44 of them. Current kicker Chandler Catanzaro was 7-for-7 from that distance last season. (The only miss in the last decade? Neil Rackers from 32 yards in overtime in a 2007 home game against the 49ers. You know the one with the Hail Larry and Patrick Willis somehow chasing Sean Morey down from behind before Rackers’ miss. That game didn’t end well.)
There might be other factors as well in this new rule, as pointed out by former Cardinals kicker Jay Feely:
60-80 extra points per team that the defense didn’t rush hard but now they will bring it. There will be injuries https://t.co/yNqVr9Ktpx
— Jay Feely (@jayfeely) May 19, 2015
The NFL figures the new kick conversion rate will be around 95 percent. It’ll be interesting to see how many coaches risk going for two more often. The guess is that total won’t appreciably jump.
Tags: Chandler Catanzaro, Extra points, Neil Rackers
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