kickchart

It’s time to narrow the uprights in the NFL

It's official. Field goals have just become too easy, and extra points are just useless now. A few decades ago, kickers became specialists and figured out that soccer style wasn't the way to go. Ever since, they've become more and more accurate. Now, field goals have become far too automatic. 

Kickers are making 86 percent of their field goals, which is actually up 1.4 points from last season. There's been just one miss on 162 attempts from inside 30 yards, and kickers are hitting 94 percent of their kicks inside 40 yards. It's not even a challenge anymore. In fact, they're hitting 67 percent of their field goals from beyond 50 yards. That's a mark that had never been reached on field goals of any length until the 1981 season. 

This super-awesome chart, via Reddit, really shows how quickly and dramatically field goal success rates have increased over the years:

So why doesn't the NFL adapt? Why not bring the uprights closer together in order to make field goals more of a gamble. Do that and you don't just make kicks more exciting, but you enhance the chess match by having coaches think twice a little more often. 

There's even a chance such a strategy would actually increase scoring simply because it would likely result in more teams going for it on fourth down. Nobody will complain about an increase in aggression on the offensive side of the ball. 

We talk about the extreme growth in scoring over the years, but consider this: If we compare 2011-2013 with 1981-1983, scoring has increased by 9.1 percent, but touchdowns have increased by only 1.5 percent. The difference? Field goal kickers are 22.6 percent more accurate. 

It's time to make an adjustment. Move those uprights closer together and the game will be better off.

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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