You have probably heard by now, but the NFL is trying to make their product more exciting by tinkering with the most innocuous play in sports this side of the intentional walk —- yes, the extra point.
Beginning this season, the PAT will now be kicked from the scrimmage line of the 15-yard line, with two-point conversions remaining at the 2. The new rule also allows defenses an ability to score two points on returns.
How fun, huh?
Well, kind of. To me, 33-yard PATs will add some spice to what had become for most a bland portion of the game, but if the NFL really wanted to do something crazy, they would have gone with one of these five proposals:
+ The Josh Miller Proposal: My sidekick on The Fan Morning Show — and former NFL punter — came up with a solid suggestion. Flip the importance of the run-pass/kick component to the “point after.” That is to say, he recommends a kick coming from the scrimmage line of the 35 (making it about a 52-yard kick) while the non-kick try should come from the 1. But here’s the rub: Miller suggest the kick should be worth two points while a run or pass play into the end zone from the 1 should be worth just one. It is innovative, to be sure.
+ Touchdown Scorer Kicks: Put the scrimmage line at the 2, but simply have the person who scored the touchdown kick the ball. That is to say, if Le’Veon Bell rambles in from 22 yards on the ground for the score, he kicks. If Antonio Brown pulls in a deep 65-yard touchdown, he becomes the kicker. Oh the comedic potential of the PAT try after a tackle-eligible touchdown or, better yet, when a defensive lineman scoops and scores. Could you imagine Daniel McCullers having to line up and kick a PAT? That, I’d pay to see. Under such a rule, however, I’m guessing most teams would just go for two in such a circumstance — which would still make the game livelier.
+ Get Rid Of The PAT Kick: Yep, it is that simple. Scrap the PAT kick and go with a series of yardages that award a different amount of points for a successful pass or run on a conversion. That is to say, the offense has the choice to spot the ball on the 2, 10 or 20 — and they get one untimed play. If they are successful from the 2, they get one point, from the 10 they get two points and from the 20, they get three points. Again, it brings in a heavy risk/reward quotient which I think directly corresponds with a heavy entertainment quotient.
+ Kicker Only PAT: If the NFL really wants to accentuate the importance of kickers, do this … put them alone in the spotlight. That is, put them all alone (with a holder) on the field. Have everyone leave the field after the TD is scored and the kicker (along with his holder) trot out there with a decision. The kicker can try to kick one — again with no one else on the field and not needing to take a snap — from 35 yards for one point. Or, he can try a PAT from 60 that would count for two points. No snap, no rush, no threat of a block — just the lonely kicker, the holder, the ball and the uprights and two choices. Now that’s heavy drama I’d sign up to watch.
+ Leave Well Enough Alone: Was the NFL so bad that the PAT structure needed to be changed? I mean, they could always have just left it alone.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.