This week NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell started a firestorm of discussion. Goodell suggested that the competition committee will consider eliminating the point-after-touchdown (PAT) kick. While some have lauded the idea saying it will help speed up the game, others see the idea as ridiculous.
With the proposed change a place kicker would only have to focus on field goals and kick-offs. This did not sit well with kickers in the league. San Francisco 49ers kicker Phil Dawson took to Twitter with his feelings: “Eliminate PATs? Success rate too high? QBs better be careful. The forward pass is becoming increasingly efficient. # penalize progress”
Former Saints OLB Scott Shanle had a few choice words for the commissioner and his proposed chang: “The arrogance of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is snowballing outta control. No more extra point kicks!?! Stop messing & changing our game!!”
ESPN’s Mel Kiper also doesn’t believe the NFL should eliminate the PAT. Kiper ranted on ESPN Radio “Let’s eliminate the easy throws. No pass can be less than 10 yards. You don’t eliminate things because people are accomplished at it.”
It is understandable why some people would want to eliminate a play that is essentially automatic. In the more than 1200 PATs this season only five were missed. Kickers accuracy has steadily increased in the last four seasons from 99.1 percent in 2010 to 99.6 percent in 2013.
The proposed idea for now is that a touchdown would now be worth seven points. The current two point conversion would be worth one additional point giving you eight points or if you miss it, you would lose one point giving you six points.
Keep in mind when the idea of adding instant replay and coaches challenges was conceived in 1999, many people were against it. They felt that a review of so many plays would essentially slow down the game. Fourteen seasons later it is hard to imagine the league without it.
As much as people may be against it now, if the idea is adopted by the competition committee, the league and the fans would eventually adjust to the change as they have every change that has occurred in the game since its inception.