NFL’s New Extra Point Rules

17 Sep, 2015

field goal

One of the key takeaways from the first week of football action is that the NFL’s decision to move the spot of the extra point attempt to the 15-yard line has already had a measurable impact on the game.

Of the 75 PAT attempts that were tried over the first week, NFL kickers managed to convert on 71 of them. Now, that still produces a pretty good conversion rate of about 95% but it is significantly down from last season’s conversion rate of 99.3%. To put those four missed extra points into perspective, in the last five seasons NFL kickers have missed 37 extra points in 6,447 attempts. Kickers only missed eight extra points during the entire 2014 season. We’ve already halfway to that number after one week of football with the new, longer PAT.

The rule change hasn’t led to a wholesale change in how teams think about extra points (at least not yet). Teams combined to try six two-point conversions in Week 1 and four of those attempts were successful. That’s actually slightly down from last season’s first week, where NFL teams tried seven two-point conversions. Nevertheless, with PATs not being as automatic as they were before this season’s change, expect two-point attempts to go up, especially if and when the weather starts to play a more prominent factor in games.

While purists may not like change for change’s sake, it’s difficult to argue that the new extra point rules don’t add some much needed uncertainty and drama to the PAT. Part of what makes football so compelling is that nothing in the sport comes easy and the extra point should be no exception to that rule.


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