NFL Changes the Extra Point Because the NFL Has No Idea What It’s Doing

| May 20th, 2015

Picture if you will…

January 3rd 2016.

Lions at Bears.

John Fox has rejuvenated the Bears franchise and led them to a 9-6 record. A win, at home, against the lowly Detroit Lions will send them into the postseason.

Lions lead 24-17 heading into the fourth quarter. The heavens open. Snow. Not just snow. A blizzard. Both teams struggle to move the ball. The game seems lost. With 1:07 remaining, Cutler hands the ball to Forte at midfield. A hole opens! Forte slips! Forte slides! End zone! Touchdown! Overtime!

Or not. Because now, according to the new rules of the NFL, in the howling winds off the lake, with snow piled an inch and a half high off the field, the Bears must now make a 32-yard field goal to enter the postseason.

Forget the off-field stuff. The NFL has a million on-field problems. Pass interference and illegal contact have become joke calls, influencing the outcome of way too many games. Players don’t know what is and what is not a personal foul. The referees don’t know what is and what is not a catch. “Football move” has become the NFL’s “neighborhood play” – a completely arbitrary ruling that leaves fans in barrooms across the country shrugging their shoulders with a “who the fuck knows” dismissiveness. Those same fans watch NFL action with a delay button, expecting every great moment from their team to be suffocated by the arrival of a tiny yellow rag.

And yet Uncle Roger and the boys have fixed their efforts on the extra point! You know the extra point? That’s the thing that happens between the barstool and the toilet. That’s the thing that gives you a chance to get yourself another beer. That’s the thing that no fan in the history of the NFL has ever complained about.

Didn’t we all want kickers to be more important? Didn’t we all want games to possibly be decided by a play that is ALREADY described as “extra”? Of course we did!

I understand the counter argument. The NFL simply reduced a 99% play to a 94% play. But the latter number is clearly going to decrease with the shear number of attempts. If the NFL were trying to encourage teams to go for the two-point conversion, why not move the conversion line of scrimmage to the one as a correlating move?

The answer is simple: changing the extra point is gimmicky bullshit that doesn’t make the game better or more interesting. Touchdowns aren’t hard enough to score, you know. Now you have to jump through a hoop at the end to confirm it. If the NFL didn’t want the extra point anymore, they should have just eliminated it from action. But that would have far too easy and wise for a league run by buffoons.

Tagged: , ,

  • Huge Bear’s Penis

    it is going to be interesting if there is a holding call or off sides call against the kicking team that pushes it back even further. hmmmm kick now 42 yard fg, or go for 2.

    stupid rule change.

    • BillW

      If you go for two it presumably would be from further back..

      So let’s say the extra point ties; and you get a 5 yard penalty on offense. Does the defense accept oir decline – knowing the team may decide for 2?

      Vice versa – the penalty is on defense. Now the stratgey is go for 2 from the one maybe.

      I get the idea that adds more strategy to the game. But I do think it devalues the TD itself.

      However, look at the rare times a team misses an extra point. Esp if blocked. It puts momentum back to the team scored on.

      I don’t like them messing with the game without good reason – that’s why I’m against it. This is a VERY fundamental difference in the game. Football is now VERY different than ever before. The last rule change that had that impact I think was the 5 yard chuck rule (prior a defender could hit a receiver anywhere on the field before the pass was thrown.)

      It’s for one year only. My guess is they go back to the old way in 2016 (before the Patriots figure out a way to cheat on this one too.)

      • Huge Bear’s Penis

        yep they would be going for 2 from a further distance also.

  • And if it were the Lions who were looking to tie up the game at this moment, we would be praising the rule change.

    The extra point has been a joke for as long as I’ve watched the game. I can get behind the rule change if anything to add another drop of excitement to the game.

    • DaBearsBlog

      “Adding excitement” shouldn’t be the goal though. If they don’t want the play eliminate it. You could make it more exciting but putting the goal posts on wheels too but that doesn’t make it right.

      • Totally valid point. The game has always been evolving though. It’s really mind blowing to see all of the rule changes over the last 150+ years:


        • BillW

          Thanks for the link. At a glance, my favorite is in 1994 “The five yard contact rule will be enforced more stringently”.

          So they admit they weren’t enforcing a rule? And now they will? At least “more stringently”? But still not completely?

          To me a “rule” isn’t a suggestion – and there shoudl be no “stringent” versus “lenient” about it.

          And still – the NFL keeps getting more poopular. I seriously wonder what it would take to reduce audiences.

          • DocNitty(BallsStillOrnamental)

            “poopular” is right on.

    • Irish Sweetness

      It’s just as tricky for the Lions to kick that PAT in a blizzard as it is for us … but this looks like a rule change for the sake of having a rule change. The tuck rule …. QB in possession …. these are more relevant things.

  • Here’s what I find funny: the NFL is trying to make it harder for kickers because they’re too good. Accuracy on FGs keeps climbing. There’s also been talk in the last 5-10 years about narrowing the goal posts.

    Yet QB stats keep climbing, and the NFL continues to look for ways to make it easier on QBs.

    • BearDown100393

      Make the QBs throw with their opposite hand in the 2nd half.

      • willbest

        Its heads, Visiting team wins.
        Visiting QB: We will take the ball first half
        Home QB: We will take throwing with right hand in the first half.

      • It’s really just about not stripping the defenders of their ability to defend.

    • BillW

      I wish I could upvote that 100 times.

    • AlbertInTucson

      Stop allowing special “Kicking Balls”.

      1 ball for everything.

      For all passers.

      For all punters.

      For all placekickers.

      Learn it. Know it. Live it.

    • Huge Bear’s Penis

      just make them kick from harder angles. doesn’t rugby make them kick extra points from the spot inline with where the scored their “try”. so if they if they scored a TD in a corner of the endzone they would kick the FG from that sideline.

  • I still say don’t even do the XP play unless the team is going for 2. Take the freebie without having to go through the formality.

    Speeds up the game, removes injury risks on pointless plays, but also removes commercial breaks, so we know the NFL would never do it.

    • BillW

      I fully agree that they shoudl have just give 7 for a TD, but if you try for 2, then it’s 8 if good, 6 if not. Simple. Too simple.

      But it doesn’t remove commercial breaks. They don’t have one between the TD and trhe try. They have one after, and then another after the kickoff. That would not change.

  • BearDown100393

    Wow Robbie Gould must really suck now if this is an actual issue with anyone.

    • BillW

      It will be the difference between winning and losing in at least a few games overall. I could estimate it if I had the time. 256 games each year. How many decided by a point or 2? then roughly 5% of that. Which ignores weather factors (the % diff in XP vs that length FG is 5% overall. But it’s worse I suspect later in the year for outdoor stadiums.

      That’s not a reason to not do it. I’m saying it will change thge outcome of games.

      And that doesn’t even consider the times a team decided to go for 2 because it’s more tempting now.

      • BearDown100393

        Was this change really made for “the game” or Vegas?

        • BillW

          Hopefully not Vegas – but as JEff says I don’t see where the motivation came from. Sounds like a bunch of people wanting to change just for trhe fun of it.

          I never heard a coach complaining about the extra point being too easy.

  • Bear Down in Tampa

    One unintended consequence of this rule though will be to cut down on excessive celebrations. A 15 yard taunting or excessive celebration penalty will turn it into a 47 yard XP. Yikes!

    • BillW

      Excellent point you raise. Because right now they assess that on the kickoff, not the try. That wasn’t addressed – wonder if it will change?

      • Bear Down in Tampa

        I’m pretty sure they assess it on the KO because the XP from 34 yards is still plenty makeable. As we read in the article it’s roughly 94% and the team scored on will concede the point to get the good field position on the ensuing possession. A 47 yard try becomes a little more dicey.

        • BillW

          I think you are right – the team scored on has an option.

    • BearDown100393

      Instead of 15 yards take away the XP attempt as the penalty. Sick of the showboat taunting.

  • Bear Down in Tampa

    Since we’re just making up rules, instead of kicking the try, why not just let the two kickers arm wrestle for it. Winner gets the point. I’d hate to play the Raiders, Janikowski would get some MVP votes.

  • BillW

    By the way Jeff, in your scenario the Bears don’t go into the postseason by making the extra point. They time the game and it goes into OT.

    EDIT – SORRY! I read it too fast. You weren’t saying that.

    And another edit – you said “they have to make a 32 yard FG to enter the postseason.” Well, I know what you meant. I’ll crawl away now…

  • BillW

    Today on PFT I read not only is the rule temporary for 2015, if the accuracy on PATs doesn’t go down enough, they may move it back FURTHER!!!

    So they WANT teams to miss extra points. They WANT games ot be decided by a miss extra point. I simply don’t get it.

    Here’s an idea. Why not rule changes to help out the defense a little instead of punishing kickers for being too good.

    I already see what’s coming next. No FG atemps insdie the 20.

    • willbest

      It would be funny to see a 3rd and goal on the 16, watch the QB pull up not see anybody open and then dive for the 21 yard line as he is getting tackled.

  • Scharfinator

    This scenario is bogus because Gould is so good.

  • Waffle

    Sidebar: I need to point this out because we all know fans like this and it’s not ok to sit by and let people get away with it:
    Crawford made 60 saves or something crazy like that last night including 10 that could go on a highlight reel. This fucking guy at work had the audacity to blame the 1st goal on Crawford as the reason why they went to overtime in the first place and said he sucks.
    Why even fucking watch the games if you’re such a douche.

    • Bear Down in Tampa

      Crow struggled for the most part against Nashville, but he has pretty much been standing on his head since Game 6 of the Nashville series. That guy at your job is a moron and should not get to celebrate if the Hawks win the Cup. Put the kibosh on it if he does, we’re all counting on you.

      • Waffle

        haha, we told him that he is not allowed to partake in any jovial discussions regarding the Hawks or revel in any victories until he recants his statement and issues a formal apology to the office.

      • BillW

        I hold that Crow was kidnapped and an imposter took his place early in the Nashvile series. Escaped just in time.

    • Bender (Call Saul) McLugh

      Crow was spectacular…..the Defense? Not so much for most of the game, but only watched until the first OT.

      • Bear Down in Tampa

        Losing Rosy really hurt! Q doesn’t have a 5th defender he can trust. Timo was getting rocked everytime he was on the ice, seriously look for #44 and you’ll usually see him on the ground. Kyle Cumiskey is still trying to feel his way back. Those guys are tired back there, they need to figure out something soon because their current TOI is unsustainable.

  • AlbertInTucson

    “Banks fined more than $5B, to plead guilty to market rigging”


    But I don’t read about any of these crooks going to JAIL.

    The fines don’t work.

    Here’s the deal:

    A) We take everything you own.

    B) You never work in finance again.

    C) Here’s 10 years in Levenworth (or 11 years in Twelveworth) to plan your next career move.

    • willbest

      5 billion is how much revenue JP Morgan generates every 21 days and how much profit it makes every 3 months. To put that into perspective its as if the average household received a $2800 fine (and note that assumes it is paying the full amount, it is not). $2000 is what the charge you in my city if you cut down a tree you aren’t supposed to.

    • BillW

      My up vote is primarily for the Groucho Marx joke.

  • willbest

    Why don’t they just require that whoever does the punting, kicking, return, and Long Snap duties be on the field for all of the ST snaps if they want to make special teams more interesting.

  • DocNitty(BallsStillOrnamental)

    I realize this rarely happens, but it’s the possibility of it happening that tantalizes me. Follow me if you will.

    Normally, a team lines up at the two in field goal formation to try for the extra point. But there is always that possibility that it’s a fake extra point that they run in for two. This forces the defense to play it somewhat safe when rushing the kicker. It certainly happens at lower levels of football but rarely in the pro’s for some reason. But now, by having the extra point marker at a different location than the conversion marker, you eliminate that potential exciting play. This is the reason I believe the league has actually managed to reduce the potential for exciting plays rather than increase them. However, maybe there’s a rule in the NFL forbidding fake extra point tries that I’m not aware of. And if there is, that’s what should change.

    Why does the NFL insist on fixing something that isn’t broken? A stupid rule if you ask me and I can’t believe those on the competition committee voted for it. Change the rule back, and while we’re at it, move the kickoff’s back to where they used to be too. This game I love is becoming a mockery of it’s formal self.

    Strangely, I’ve watched more baseball in the past two months than the previous 40 years of my existence combined. Correlation?

  • DocNitty(BallsStillOrnamental)

    I remember how long it took for them to include the two-point conversion in the NFL. Now, on a whim, that’s seemingly all they want.

  • BerwynBomber

    “If the NFL were trying to encourage teams to go for the two-point conversion, why not move the conversion line of scrimmage to the one as a correlating move?”

    Would have required common sense.

  • Bear Down in Tampa
  • Trac

    This new rule change offers a compromise. Make the game more exciting, don’t eliminate the XP entirely. They’re testing the waters, that all.

    • willbest

      The idea below that a TD be worth 7 points, with the option of gaining (or losing) a point from a successful (or unsuccessful) conversion was a good idea.

  • GP Mexican UFO Specialist

    This has been talked about for awhile, moving the extra point back to make it more meaningful. The 32 seems arbitrary probably based on conversion %

    It’s a “meh” thing, I guess.

    If there was a rule that demands changing, it’s the onside kick. The ball should need to travel 20 yards not 10 to be live. I hate the “it’s a rugby scrum and ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN” element of that kick. And I’m sure Cheesy would agree with that. Bosssssssssstick!!!!!!

    It’s the kind of “wow here comes an event that is mostly luck” thing that really drains the game of a skill factor. And don’t tell me there is a skill in kicking onside either, that’s crap. I’m sure there are kickers who can get the ball to nose over so it hops high on hard ground, but that is the lamest skill to base a game on. That’s like a tie at the Master’s being decided by the windmill hole on a miniature golf course.

    And I agree with Blogfadder on the ever changing nature of PI and the new “magic zones” around people’s heads that make legit form tackles that even graze helmet to helmet draw the flag. THat’s not really helping the CTE epidemic, that’s just stupid and ruining the game. I am specifically recalling a DJ Williams textbook tackle that drew a flag here.

    • BerwynBomber

      Good point about the onside kick. Occasionally, it comes with the element of surprise — the Saints starting their second half against the Colts in the SB some years back, our own unsuccessful effort in the first Cheese game the past season — but yeah to decide games in the last minute because of a large degree of luck seems a tad stupid.

      In terms of PI, I would like to eliminate the spot-foul aspect of it. Fifty yard penalties are kind of ridiculous.

      One thing the refs did well this last year was increase the O-PI calls. For too many years, receivers could get away with anything/everything.

      • I think some PI calls need to be spot of the foul. If you’re beat and you deliberately tackle somebody to prevent a 50 yard catch, it should be a 50 yard penalty.
        But ticky-tack stuff should just be 15 yards. Off course, it can be hard to judge the gray areas in the middle.

        • BerwynBomber

          That is a valid point; I would not disagree. But making them ALL spot fouls beyond fifteen yards has always seemed a double standard because it implies the receiver would have made the catch at the spot of the foul yet if O-PI is called beyond fifteen yards the DB is not similarly awarded the assumption that he would have snared the INT.

          • SC Dave

            You going to change hail mary passes too? Tal k about luck deciding the game.at the end

          • OPI is only a 10 yard penalty. IMO it should be 15.

    • if you make it 20 yards, nobody would ever pull off a successful onside kick, short of a trick play of some sort.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Which is probably the way it should be. You shouldn’t be able to kick the ball to yourself anyway.

        • They make the end of the game more interesting. Only have a success rate of a little under 20% now, and I think that’s about right.


        • BillW

          I see your point. It’s kind of like Final Jeopardy. You build a decent enougfh lead and it’s the end of the game and you can still lose by bad luck.

          Think about other sports. Alternate “possessions” in baseball and basketball.

          Faceoffs in hockey is close. (What does soccer do? Not that I care). You can maintain possession there too but it’s not a choice and it doesn’t affect field (ice) position.

    • SC Dave

      Disagree on just about everything in that diatribe wrt onside kicks. The end.

      • GP Mexican UFO Specialist

        Hell Dave, we disagree on everything period.

  • GP Mexican UFO Specialist

    “I swear, I totally swear, that Bob standing down will have ZERO bearing on how we handle Tom’s appeal.”


    I wonder if he crosses his fingers when he lies this brazenly, or if he’s so accomplished a liar that he doesn’t need to anymore, he’s in that state naturally.

  • Remember like 3 months ago when we were talking about dead money and I said I crunched the numbers? Finally published, if you’re interested. http://dabearsbeat.com/2015/05/20/does-dead-money-impact-team-success/
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Huge Bear’s Penis

      thanks for the article and great job. Just goes to show you that it is not how much money you don’t have, it’s more how you spend the money you do have. Hopefully, Pace’s new scouting department consistently finds us gems.

      I am still not in favor of having large amounts of dead money. I will still see it is a sign that the front office has made a big mistake. That mistake mainly being large back loaded contracts or having too many aging veterans that have contracts that out live their usefulness.

    • NewBearInTown

      Solid article JWood. Still, I don’t take away that there is no correlation between cap number and record. I think my conclusion from the data (and I have no idea how to design an experiment to test this) is that (a) having cap pressure is a problem that teams can overcome, and (b) that having cap freedom doesn’t matter without effective use of the free money.
      I think that your article shows that (a) is generally true. (b) is something which is shown every year. The team with the big money free agent signing doesn’t always make the biggest strides.

      A few other observations:

      (1) Despite this being the free agency era, we still see the majority of FA talent stay with their existing teams. This is accomplished through a combination of (i) teams signing top players prior to their deals expiring; (ii) teams signing players before they hit the open market; and (iii) teams using the franchise tag.

      (2) With the salary cap floor set a few years ago, and the thin market at certain positions, we’ve seen some teams that have been forced to overspend their free cap money on inferior players. I believe this skews the value of “free cap space.” Just because a team has $50M in free cap space in the off-season doesn’t mean they’re going to get $50M of value if they spend it.

      (3) Dead money usually means the team committed money to a bad player and then cut that player. The dead money means they can’t replace the player, but doesn’t mean that the team is worse. Pre-cut, the team was stuck with an expensive player who was not being productive. Post-cut, the team is stuck with an inexpensive player (rookie or vet) to fill that roster spot who is, at worst, also unproductive.

      (4) Teams around the league (the Ravens in particular) have implemented a strategy the past few years where they will deliberately no sign veterans because it allows them to stock-pile compensatory draft picks. If $10M of dead money correlates to an extra mid-round pick, some teams would consider that a good investment. If the rookie pans out, you take his rookie salary plus the $10M “advance” and you still may come out ahead versus a free agent signing.

      • “I don’t take away that there is no correlation between cap number and record”

        Mathematically speaking, there is no other conclusion you can make based on the data. I went into it expecting there to be some correlation, I just wasn’t sure how strong. This showed none.

        I agree with the rest of your points though. There are a bunch of other factors.

        I still don’t think a lot of dead money is a good idea, but the data strongly suggests it’s not a big deal at all.

        • NewBearInTown

          Logically, there must be a point at which cap number does matter. A hypothetical team with something like $80M in dead money would almost certainly struggle.
          I think that there is a threshold that teams can deal with through a combination of pro-rating guaranteed money and simply looking for value players. What your article tells me is that the threshold is pretty high (higher than expected) and that teams are pretty good at managing more typical dead money issues.
          Another way to think about it: Looking at NFL data on extra points implies that kicking a 15 yard field goal is easy. That would be false. What NFL data shows is that teams are typically able to find at least 32 guys that are good enough to consistently overcome the challenge.
          The same is true, apparently, for cap management.

        • BillW

          Remember all (since I’m in statistics teaching mode) – correlation does not imply causation. All it implies is a mathematical relationship between the variabilities in each set of data. Not cause and effect.

          Quite often, there are “hidden” variables that BOTH are related to. For example, there is a high correlation between ice cream sales and sunburn cases. Why? Obviously because they both rise during the summer. Temperature is the hidden variable.

          What is the hidden variable here? Most likely front office skill vs front office ineptitude.

          • This is a very good point. I did not say there is no causation between the 2. I said there is no correlation, which is the only conclusion I can draw when I can’t get an r^2 value to even reach 0.1 no matter how I look at it.
            There are multiple factors that could influence this, the most likely of which is the one you mention.

  • Shady

    As Nitty said, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

    • SC Dave

      This. Same goes for onside kicks…. they ain’t broken either.

    • DocNitty(BallsStillOrnamental)

      So wait, you get a thumbs up for paraphrasing me, but I get nothing when I originally said it?

      That’s some bullshit right there.

      • Shady

        Isn’t it though?

      • Huge Bear’s Penis

        so needy….

      • BillW

        I figure I better “thumbs up” this post just to be sure.

  • GP Mexican UFO Specialist
    • Irish Sweetness

      He’s in the right place.

      • Trac

        Yes. A true thug!

  • Huge Bear’s Penis

    I don’t think they should change the extra point and i think the change they made is ridiculous.

    so i have been thinking about it for awhile and i believe i got a fun solution. Instead of having your kicker going out their for the extra point, which is almost always automatic, the team should be forced to use the player that scored the TD to kick the extra point. who would not love seeing a big defensive lineman who happened to pick up a fumble and rumble into the end zone then have to line up to kick the extra point.

    • willbest

      You would see them fall down on the 1 yard line instead of pick-6

      • Huge Bear’s Penis

        i doubt that. giving up guaranteed points to be at the one yard line. A coach would be driven out of town if he instructed his players to do that, and they were not able to convert the TD.

  • NewBearInTown

    The scenario I don’t agree with. If you flip the sides and the Lions are down 7, is anyone upset when they miss the kick? I think the league is hoping that this encourages teams to go for 2 more often. So in this scenario the Bears would go for 2 either win or lose rather than taking their chances in overtime. I have no opinion of this goal, but I do wonder if this rule change will accomplish it. 94% is still pretty good.

    “The NFL simply reduced a 99% play to a 94% play. But the latter number is clearly going to decrease with the shear number of attempts.” A little part of me died when I read this. That’s not how averages work.

    “The answer is simple: changing the extra point is gimmicky bullshit that doesn’t make the game better or more interesting.” I dunno, I don’t see this as a big deal. But if its not a popular change, it will probably get changed back in a year or two.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Seeing the verb ‘shear’ used instead of the adjective ‘sheer’ is what makes me die inside.

    • BillW

      I have no idea of the numbers but suspect there are far more extra point attempts than FGs at or near the ditance the XP will be now.

      Therefore (stat nerd alert) the standard error of the mean for the XP is much lower than the SE of the mean FG attempts near that distance. Say it another way (please) – there is more variation in the average for the near 32yd FG average than for the XP.

      HOWEVER – that does not imply that the average kicks near that distnace will go DOWN; but regression analysis would say in fact that is likely. There must be a negative correlation between distnace and accuarcy. JWood probably has those numbers – but it’s not worth crunching; it’s intuitive.

      OK -statisitcs lesson aside. It’s a dumb rule change. They are impacting the game for no good reason. The “shear” stupidilty of essentially saying “we want kickers to miss more extra points” is insulting to the game and the players.

      Players get pissed enough when they work hard for 59 minutes and 55 seconds only to have a kicker lose the game on missed chip shot. (I think that sentiment goes all the back to Alex Karras and probably further.) Now the league is essentially conspiring to make kickers lose games even more.


      If they want to do something like that – give something back to the DEFENSE; don’t take away from the kickers!

    • DaBearsBlog

      That is how averages will work in this case. Because now teams will put a lot of effort into blocking, attacking these plays. And now kickers will approach the extra point with nerves, instead of the easy going knock it thru approach. This number will drop.

      • NewBearInTown

        Or the number will go up because kicks from that specific distance in those specific circumstances will become a focal point of practice for kickers.
        But “the sheer number of attempts” will not change the average, the change in strategy will.

  • Huge Bear’s Penis

    i am wandering if the rule change was announced to ‘deflate’ a little the debate over air pressure and footballs and the punishment.

  • Irish Sweetness

    Entourage. The movie. Rhonda Rousey plays a woman …. I mean a straight woman.

    • Bender (Call Saul) McLugh

      I liked her in Furious 7, not sure about her acting skeelz (or her makeup for that matter…), but she’ll be able to martial-arts it up with the best of em.

  • Bender (Call Saul) McLugh

    Crane-style Wu-Tang!

  • Bender (Call Saul) McLugh

    Don’t kids know what happens in the parents bedroom stays in the parents bedroom?


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