NFL commissioner: Maybe we'll get rid of extra points after touchdowns

A plea for more excitement in the game from the man who ended instant sudden death in overtime. Extra points are almost automatic already, he notes — just five misses this season in 1,267 attempts — so why not make them truly automatic? The new plan:

“You want to add excitement with every play,” Goodell said. “So there have been some proposals. Some are still going through the process of creativity, but there’s one proposal in particular that I’ve heard about (where) it’s automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball. But if you fail, you’d go back to six.”

I spent five seconds after reading that trying to game out how the rule change would affect strategy before realizing that what he’s describing is … exactly the way the game is played now. The only difference under the new scheme is that five or so missed PATs per year would be eliminated, pushing the success rate for seven-point TDs from 99.6 to a cool 100. How does that add more excitement? Right now, there’s a very slim chance that someone will blow a crucial game-tying extra point. Goodell would actually reduce the amount of unpredictability in the game (slightly) by taking that away.

If you want to liven up the PAT, there’s an obvious solution: Move it way, way back. TDs would remain six points but afterward coaches would have a choice. Either go for two from the two-yard line or try a 45-yard kick for the extra point. If your goal is more excitement then you should be increasing the incentive for teams to try two-point conversions by decreasing the incentive for them to kick instead — and if they do kick, you want some real suspense in whether they’ll make it. I’d be all for it, but I realize that the first time a team loses by a point because their kicker missed the PAT by six feet, their fans would be screaming bloody murder and demanding the return of the chip-shot PAT. That’s why we can’t have nice things, America. Discard your childish traditions! Click the image to watch.