Clearly the prospect of seeing 3 points flash on the scoreboard is too tempting to resist. It’s time to save coaches from themselves: The NFL should make field goals worth 2 points.
Because a field goal is worth half as much as a touchdown, coaches find themselves trapped inside Zeno’s paradoxes whenever their team is trailing. Scoring in incremental nibbles makes it feel like they’re catching up, when in fact they’re just giving the other team more opportunities to widen the gulf. Here’s how Garrett explained his decision to kick against New England: “Just to give us a chance coming back the other way, fourth-and-7, you know, make it a four-point game. They go ahead and kick a field goal coming back, you still have a chance to be in the game.” Kick a field goal and the carrot is forever within reach.
To the eyes of football men, the number 2 looks abnormal and measly. They’ve lived their entire lives in chunks of 7s and 3s, so a 2-point field goal would be the shock to the system we need to kill off their bad habits. (Among the worst of those habits: kicking a field goal on fourth-and-short when leading by a field goal.) Games would be a great deal more entertaining because teams would go for it more frequently. On second thought, teams should be doing this already, so the 2-point field goal would make games precisely as entertaining as they already should be.