Here’s an NFL rule change I’d support

So for some reason, the NFL made a rule change that applied only the playoffs this past season. In other words, something that worked one way for the whole season suddenly changed when teams hit the playoffs. Seems an odd time to change the rules doesn’t it? If it’s such a great rule, why wasn’t it the rule during the regular season too? You’d think players, teams and coaches would want some consistency, especially when heading into the playoffs.

Then again, there’s that other version of football that keeps everything the same until their big competition except for one fundamental thing: the ball. Also very silly.

But never mind that: let’s talk NFL. I would like to see the NFL adopt a rugby-style rule for the Point After Touchdown (PAT). Today, in (American) football, if you get the ball into the end zone, it’s a touchdown, and you get a chance to score an extra point (or two) by placing the ball on the middle of the 2-yard line. At that point, most teams snap the ball for a kick for 1 point, but occasionally you see a play from the 2-yard line for 2 points.

Kicker Olindo Mare connects on an extra point. [Photo by Corky Trewin,]

Yawn. 2-point conversion tries are fun to watch, but they rarely happen because the 1-point kick is such a high-percentage play. So how could you change it? Simple, go the rugby route.

Here’s the rule for a rugby extra point (from Wikipedia): “The kick is taken at any point on the field of play in line with the point that the ball was grounded for the try, and parallel to the touch-lines.”

In other words, if you ran in for a touchdown, but you only made it to the outside corner of the end zone, your extra try attempt has to come from the edge of the field. Only if you convert a touchdown by running into the end zone in the middle of the field do you get to kick the PAT from the middle of the field.

Imagine how this would change the game. For starters, people would know to try and get more central in the field when they score touchdowns, knowing that PAT’s are easier from the middle of the field – but sometimes, when you can only make it in in the corner, well, that’s what you do.

It would make the PAT meaningful. Which right now, it’s not.

How about it, NFL? That’s a rule worth changing (and be sure to change it early, not “just for the playoffs”).

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