We’ve stated time and again that making the extra point only slightly harder isn’t the solution to fixing the game’s most boring play. If anything, dropping the success rate from 99 percent to, say, 90 percent would only make fluky misses more common, which in turn would result in more tough-luck losses. Plus, kicking from further back does nothing to cut down on injuries.
Eliminating the extra point entirely isn’t a bad idea, which is why Roger Goodell was on the right track with his suggestion earlier this year – alluded to with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen – which would give a team seven points for a touchdown with the option to risk one point in order to gain two. That would essentially work the same way it does now…except without a silly formality of a kick afterwards.
But Tom Coughlin’s recent suggestion is giving that one a run for its money in our book.
“If you really want to make it interesting,” Coughlin said this week, per Conor Orr of the Newark Star-Ledger, “put it at the one.”
Getting in from the 1-yard line is substantially easier than doing so from the 2-yard line. So simply moving the ball up one yard would tempt teams to more commonly forgo the extra point and gamble on a two-point conversion.
Since 1998, teams have made it into the end zone 54 percent of the time on 3rd- or 4th-down from the 1-yard line. Under the same circumstances from the 2-yard line, they’ve had a 45 percent success rate. That extra nine percent could make a huge difference.
I know, that doesn’t help us cut down on injuries, but it adds some suspense and intrigue to a play that has been meaningless for more than a decade. Football is a chess match as is, and this simple move would add an entirely new element to that mind game.