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January 21, 2014

NFL Commissioner: Maybe We'll Get Rid of Extra Points After Touchdowns

He's proposing making a touchdown worth 7 points, period, automatically, but you have the option to gamble that extra point on a conversion. If you make the conversion, you gain a point (up to 8) and if you fail, you lose the point (down to 6). As it is now.

I wouldn't do this.

The problem with extra points is not the play itself. The play takes five seconds. Even if there's no dramatic interest in the play, who cares? It takes all of five seconds.

The problem with extra points is TV timeouts for commercials.

Early in NFL games, after a touchdown is scored, broadcasters often cut to a commercial, then come back from break for a five second extra point try, then kickoff (which takes another ten seconds or so, and often results in no runback). Then they take another break.

This can mean that after a touchdown, four or five minutes go by before you see anything like an offensive play. You'll see two and a half minutes of commercials, then a nearly-automatic extra point, then a kickoff which usually goes out of the endzone or is downed with no runback, then two and a half minutes of commercials, and then, finally, football again.

The problem isn't the extra point itself, which should be preserved just out of tradition. The problem is the grueling number of minutes which pass between a touchdown and the next offensive series. Eliminating the five-second play of the extra point does nothing about that (except save five seconds).

If the NFL wants to address this problem, they should make sure their future contracts with broadcasters specify the following:

No television timeout can be taken between the touchdown and point after attempt. (If a team calls a time out to strategize for the conversion, they may extend that into a TV timeout.)

Only two minutes of commercials are permitted after a touchdown and point after; after this, a kickoff occurs, and only one minute of TV timeout is permitted between the spotting of the ball and the next snap.

That's actually more like broadcasters handle commercials at the end of the game. They really pack commercials into the front half of the game; they're a bit less greedy in the second half.

This problem can be fixed by the NFL being slightly less greedy and thereby imposing rules on broadcasters to be slightly less greedy too.

Ummm... Open Thread? Hedley Lamar says this entire post is based on an incorrect premise:

Do they seriously cut away to commercials between touchdown and PAT in NFL games? I don't think I've ever seen that in college unless someone calls a timeout.

Normally if anything, it's Touchdown, PAT, (commercial), kickoff (commercial).

Hmmm... Now that he says that... He may be right.

Adam Smith's Invisible Pimp Hand has a better suggestion:

Just move the ball to the one yard line, that would make the two point conversion more tempting. I think there were only five extra point misses this year.

Wow, that's true. Moving a kick from the 2 to the 1 does nothing at all, but moving an attempt for a conversion from the 2 to the 1 does make it much easier. You can always just do the jump-over-and-poke-it-over-the-line thing. And the fact that you can do that so easily means that teams have to defend against that primarily, which then opens up some passing opportunities too.

A lot of people suggest moving the kick back to the 20 or 25 or 30 or whatever to make an extra point more like a not-so-gimme field goal attempt.

Here's the problem with that: It eliminates the possibility of the surprise two point conversion attempt. Yes I know, rarely is a two point conversion a surprise. Usually it's clear when a team is going to attempt it.

Still, on rare occasions, a team will fake an extra point and go for the two points.

Moving the ball back to the 25 virtually eliminates all two-point conversions unless the team can announce, beforehand, it's going for the 2 point play, in which case the ball is placed at the 2 yard line. Which is fine... except in that case there's no such thing as the surprise/fake extra point play. The play is announced to the refs before.

But I do like this "move it to the one" idea.

With one caveat: I think the "Poke the ball briefly over the plane of the endzone" is sort of a cheatey exploitation of the rules, and causes a lot of fan disquiet, because it's usually a judgement call and whether or not points were actually scored (whatever the refs may say) remains in question.

I don't think the NFL should create more opportunities for such ambiguity and argument over whether someone scored or not.

Frankly, I hate the whole "break the plane" of the endzone rule. It doesn't feel like a real score to me, and always ends up with a ref review (which is itself often inconclusive).

The rule should really be that you literally touch the ball down on the field of the endzone, or else you establish the ball is in the enzone by having the ball carrier establish his presence in the endzone (one foot for runs, two feet for passes).

digg this
posted by Ace at 12:46 PM

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