Today the NFL moved the point-after-touchdown back to the 15-yard line making the conversion a 32-yard kick. They left the two-point conversion at the two but now will allow defenses to return a turnover for two points of their own. I applaud the move but if you listen to WDUZ’s Chris Havel and Harry Sydney on Sportsline today you would think it is the end of the world.
According to Havel and Harry Mason Crosby is now likely to get hurt because, I guess unlike a blocked field goal, he will have to try and make a tackle after a blocked PAT. Really? I thought I had heard everything when the Patriots called “the deflator” a guy just trying to lose weight, but this is even more outrageous. Havel even referred to the news as “tragic”. Again, really?
The argument that this goes against all the safety precautions that the league has put in place the last few years is just a bunch of bovine excrement. Guys get hurt on PATs every year. In fact, in the Packers case a PAT ended the career of right tackle Mark Tauscher. Moving the line of scrimmage back is not going to change that. In fact, I’m guessing injuries on PATs will go down because you will have all 22 trying hard instead of just a handful of guys.
The PAT has been a joke for years. All it was was a chance for the TV networks to show players celebrating after scoring a touchdown. Now the pressure could really be on if you have to kick a game winning extra point from 32 yards in subzero temps and a 20 mile-an-hour wind. It certainly brings a little uncertainty back to the play.
I also think it opens things up for a fake field. If teams crowd the line of scrimmage like they do now it leaves a lot more room for a guy to get open. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see more backup quarterbacks as holders now. I bet Tim Tebow is smiling today.
The NFL wants every play to be competitive and the old PAT certainly was not. Even at the 15 NFL kickers converted 98 percent of their kicks last year. But there is added pressure now to make it and pressure can do strange things to kickers. But in the end kickers should be applauding this move as well, it certainly puts more skill in their position and that in turn will put more money in their pocket.
Like Havel and Harry everybody grossly overreacts when the NFL makes a change to their precious game. However, every move the NFL makes, it seems, makes the game even better. The best part is they are not afraid to make changes.