Seahawks punter Jon Ryan was among those who weighed in on the day after the NFL approved changes to the extra point.
The May NFL owners’ meetings have concluded, and the major action taken that the average fan would notice remains the changes approved on Tuesday regarding the extra point.
Specifically, the PAT kick will be moved back to the 15, resulting in basically a 33-yard try. Teams can go for two from the 2-yard-line. And defenses can score on returns of interceptions, fumbles and blocked kicks that do not cross the line of scrimmage.
One Seahawk — punter/holder Jon Ryan — weighed in today with his trademark sarcasm:
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That’s a sentiment I’ve gotten from a few fans, as well. In fact, it strikes me that this is one time the NFL was responding to a problem that only it seemed to really feel. I don’t ever remember getting an e-mail from a fan complaining that the PAT was boring, or needed juicing up. I didn’t get the sense fans were unhappy that a touchdown was a touchdown was a touchdown.
But the NFL seems pretty determined to make the PAT a big deal. Commissioner Roger Goodell said today the league will consider future changes to make it more difficult but wanted to begin the transition with a relative baby step. (The league also clarified that you can’t drop kick from the 2 — darn).
While Ryan took a stance against the new rule, former Seahawk kicker Josh Brown — now with the Giants — said he likes the change, particularly that it will require more of kickers.
The Big Lead, meanwhile, noted that Bill Polian speculated that some of the power, cold-weather cities (such as New England) helped push for the change, thinking it might give them in advantage in late-season home games. I guess you’d think that might favor Seattle, as well. I did some quick research on the last couple seasons, though, and didn’t find any evidence of that. It’s also, though, been a while since there was a late-season home game at the CLink that came down to an opposing field goal or PAT make other than the 48-yarder that Green Bay’s Mason Crosby had to make at the end of the NFC title game last year to force overtime (he hit it on a day when the weather wasn’t really a factor).
Another reason for the change, though, is to make it more enticing for teams to go for two. The website numberfire.com ran the stats and concluded that it might make sense for teams to go for two more often.
They wrote in part: “For starters, there’s an obvious drop in expected points from the 15-yard line as opposed to the 2. Per Mr. Goldner’s math, while the old extra point had a success rate of 99.7%, this new one has one of roughly 93.58%. In other words, the drop in expected points on an extra point, given the rule change, is 0.06 points. Two-point conversions are successful roughly 48% of the time they’re run. Because you’re getting two points with a successful conversion, the expected point total that comes from a two-point try is .960, which is actually higher than what we’d expect from an extra point try from the 15-yard line. To put it simply, going for two, under these new rules, is probably smarter.”
Still, I’d be pretty surprised if the Seahawks really started going for two out of the blue all time. I think they’d be pretty content to score, take the still-pretty-much-a-sure-thing point and rely on the defense.
But if Seattle were to really start going for two more, NFL.com speculated that two big winners could be Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, whose games would seem to thrive in those situations.
If nothing else, it’s something to talk about in the dead of the off-season, which is something we know for sure that the NFL thrives on.