The extra point could be an endangered part of the NFL landscape.
Commissioner Roger Goodell signalled a willingness to consider changes to the extra point rule Monday in an interview with the NFL Network.
Goodell said the league is currently entertaining proposals that would eliminate the extra point and simply award teams 7 points after a touchdown, but with a caveat. Teams would still be able to attempt a 2-point conversion.
If they fail on the conversion, the touchdown would only count for 6 points. The NFL said the conversion rate on 2-point tries in the 2013 season was 48 percent.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been at the forefront of the movement against the extra point. There is a sense among the NFL that the accuracy of kickers on the 1-point tries has made the after-touchdown ritual dull.
“The extra point is almost automatic,” Goodell said. “I believe we had five missed extra points this year. So it’s a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.”
Kickers were 1,256 for 1,261 on extra points this season (99.6 percent).
Any change would need to be studied by the NFL’s competition committee and approved by at least 24 of the league’s 32 owners. Goodell cautioned that there’s much evaluation to be done.
The league does not want to discourage teams from attempting 2-point conversions, he said, by guaranteeing 7 points for a touchdown.
Belichick, whose kicker Stephen Gostkowski was 50-for-50 on extra points in 18 games this season, argued for an overhaul earlier this month. Gostkowski only has one career extra-point miss, which came during his rookie season in 2006.
“It’s virtually automatic,” Belichick said. “That’s just not the way the extra point was put into the game. It was an extra point that you actually had to execute, and it was executed by players who were not specialists, they were position players.
“It was a lot harder for them to do. The Gino Cappellettis of the world and so forth, and they were very good. I don’t think that’s really a very exciting play because it’s so automatic.”