Syracuse football fans rejoice: the NFL is considering proposals that may, some day, eliminate the PAT in it’s present form. As SU fans know, special teams has been a weak spot over the past few years and the extra point is no exception.
Although the NCAA still requires teams to attempt what has become a “gimme” for most teams, the NFL is considering several proposals that would replace the PAT.
One suggestion being considered by the NFL is to make the PAT automatic. The idea here is that instead of making teams go through the dog-and-pony show of actually kicking a PAT, the team just gets 7 points for a TD. This preserves the typical scoring structure for a football game and keeps people from having to learn multiples of 6 or 8. This proposal doesn’t make a lot of sense; you are taking something that is considered bad because it is “automatic” (NFL kickers make 99.1% of their PAT attempts) and making it automatic. The caveat is that the team can go for a 2-pt conversion, if successful they will get 8 points total for the scoring driving, and if unsuccessful will only get 6 points.
I think the NFL is going in the right direction by revising the PAT, however their idea doesn’t go far enough. Here are some common sense proposals that the NFL should consider instead:
- Move the line of scrimmage back and narrow the uprights – Instead of eliminating the PAT, just make it more challenging and force the players to evolve.
- Allow 12 players on Defense/Special Teams - Give the D/ST a sporting chance by allowing them to rush one more player than the offensive can block.
- Eliminate the kicker position – There was a time when it was common to see players like Jim Brown score the TD and then follow-it up with the PAT. Allow the team to choose who they want to kick the XP. If a team is really so desperate to have a designated kicker, then they can sign one to another position. But if a team is confident in one of their other players to make the attempt, then they can just have them go for it. This would add another roster spot on the team and provide more value to players that can also successfully kick PATs.
- Eliminate the 2 PT conversion – Let’s face it, the 2 PT conversion reeks of a backyard, home-rule that was designed one day to allow a losing team an unusual chance to catch up. The NFL may as well institute the Mercy Rule if a team is losing by too much. Like the onside kick, the 2 PT conversion is rarely used and even more rarely done successfully. Instead of allowing a team to line up and go-for-2 on special circumstances, make the scoring team having to run/pass the ball into the endzone after each TD if they want the extra point.
What do you think about these proposed rule changes? Any other suggestions that you think would be better?