The Extra Point Must Go

This week's article at the Post asks What's the point of the extra point?

 The extra point is something left over from gridiron football’s evolution from rugby. Originally, the ‘touchdown’ in rugby was less important than the ensuing free kick, and the points given for the touchdown and the ‘point after try’ varied during football’s early history. Today’s extra point is a vestige of football’s rugby roots. It’s football’s appendix–inconsequential, its original purpose uncertain...and safe to remove.

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19 Responses to “The Extra Point Must Go”

  1. Joshua Perry says:

    NOTHING is more exciting than an extra point FG attempt! So much drama!

  2. Unknown says:

    The kicker's lobby would revolt, as kickers would no longer be the leading point-scorers in the league.

    Though I disagree with eliminating the PAT, I think I agree that the line should be moved back for kicks, perhaps to the 15 or 20 (maybe even farther!) to introduce more uncertainty (uncertainty = entertainment value).

  3. Honorarius... says:

    Put a crossbar on the top of the uprights, adding a bit more challenge...

  4. Anonymous says:

    I like the idea give 7 points for a TD. Then for the extra point they have to kick a 50 yard field goal - or go for two!

  5. Kris Gardham says:

    but, but, but the hilarity?

  6. Unknown says:

    make the player who scored the td kick the pat. hilarity ensues.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love reading the comments to Brian's articles on the Post website. It's like people read the title and not the article and then give comments completely ignoring any facts he gave.

    Example: first paragraph of article "The rest of the league was successful 99.3% of the time over the entire period, including last Sunday afternoon’s games."

    Commenter: "you aren't paying much attention. they do get blocked or shanked, they are missed."

  8. dvyhnz says:

    The reason why the extra point is more alluring in rugby is because you kick from the spot on the field you score on. For instance, if you score up the sideline, you have to kick from that spot. As a result, the kick becomes longer and more difficult because kickers back up to get a better angle. That's why you see rugby players run to the middle of the end zone before touching it down -- so the kicker can kick head-on.

    I wouldn't mind this rule being applied to the NFL -- you kick from where the player crossed the goal line, and you have to adjust your distance to get the proper angle.

  9. Joshua Northey says:

    I am a real radical, but I would ditch special teams altogether. Of course the players union would never go for it, but I think football would be a tighter more enjoyable game with no extra points, conversions or field goals.

    Ball starts on the 20, and then teams try to advance the ball with no punting. You get four downs, you fail the other team takes over, and so on until someone scores a touchdown. Touchdowns would be the only form of scoring. If you get a safety you get first and goal at the 1.

    More actual football, less screwing around with anachronistic useless elements of soccer.

  10. Anonymous says:


    I like it. I assume there is still the achievement of first downs.

    If there is an alternative league to the NFL using that format, I think it could be a winner.

  11. SlackerInc says:

    I agree strongly with getting rid of the PAT, or at least moving it back enough to not only give it more drama but make 2pt conversions more alluring.

    I'm not with Joshua though. Long FGs are exciting, as are flashy kick/punt returners (Vikings fan here); and I even love to watch teams like SF use great punting and punt coverage in concert with a fierce defense.

  12. Jessi says:

    Whoever scores the TD kicks the extra point!

  13. james says:

    Betting on games would be reduced, so the NFL will not change it.

  14. Joshua Northey says:

    Alan, I like those things too.

    I just don't think the game would miss them at all, and I have always had the Antoine de Saint-Exupey:

    "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

    attitude towards the rules for games. If the game can be 99% of what it is with 1/2 the rule book you should definitely scrap half the rulebook.

    I suspect it would have a lot of ancillary benefits to officiating, broadcasts, player safety (fewer situations to deal with) et cetera. This is in addition to the main element of getting rid of the weaker parts and having more or the stronger parts.

  15. Anonymous says:

    << If the game can be 99% of what it is with 1/2 the rule book you should definitely scrap half the rulebook. >>

    That may be true, but there are plenty of things that should be chopped before the PAT stuff which does make for the occasional dramatics. Obscure rules like 1 point safeties and fair catch kicks really ought to go first.

  16. Anonymous says:

    What I've been telling my friends for a couple of years is get rid of kickers. From hence forth, all kicking must be done by a starting DL or LB.

    This would make football more important than futbol as well as being moderately amusing.

  17. OnSolThree says:

    I think it would be most interesting if the PAT and the two point conversion had roughly the same expected points on average. So keep the two point conversion where it is (that means about a 48% chance of converting) and move the extra point back to where the field goal probability is about the same (figure, make it a 50 yard field goal).

  18. Anonymous says:

    I (former rugger) dig the idea of kicking the try from the angle/point where the ball crossed the goal line, but if the TD is made at, say, the right sideline, where does the holder for a right-footed kicker (not mention everybody else) line up? He can't kneel out of bounds! Rugby does not have this problem because the kicked try is uncontested. I guess it would dictate a two-point try. Which in some game situations would make the pass into the corner of the end zone a much less viable option. One more detail is that in rugby, the try is not attempted from where the ball crossed the goal line, but rather from where the ball is "touched down" (hence the name) in the end zone. Thus, on a breakaway scoring run in rugby, you will see the ball carrier circle around to touch it down inbetween the goal posts. Unlike American football, the points will not have been scored until the ball is touched down in the end zone, so the play goes on even after the goal line is crossed.

  19. Unknown says:

    One more point, it is two points in Union for the kick and five for the try. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and lo and surprise a converted try is worth the same as a PAT+TD. The real reason of course was not to mimic American Football rather than to make it worth a little more than two penalty/drop goals. So it is not surprising that Rugby Premiership scores now often mimic their Stateside cousins...and we have two International series matches upcoming this Fall rather than one.


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