Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Put some real pizzazz in PATs

Roger Goodell wants to shake up the NFL. Apparently the NFL commissioner is tired of suspending people, so he now wants to get rid of something else in football: the extra point. Speaking of a point, Goodell has one. "The extra point is almost automatic," Goodell told the NFL Network. "I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some-odd (attempts). So it's a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play." Football has changed over the years. Gone are the days when the extra point was still a little challenging. Now there are specialists to snap, hold and kick the ball. They have become so good that extra points are rarely missed. The success rate for extra points since 2004 is 99.1 percent. It has become a meaningless play. Here are some of the possibilities to change the extra point to add spice to the most boring play in sports this side of baseball's intentional walk.

Go for two

This is an idea that Goodell suggested. Here's how it would work: If you score a touchdown, you are awarded seven points. But your team gets the option of running a play from the 2-yard line and going for an eighth point. If you make it, you end up with a total of eight points. But here's the catch: If you don't make it, you go back to just six points.

Move the extra point back

Right now, the extra point is about the same as a 20-yard field goal. Make it harder. Move the ball back and make the kick a little more challenging, say 30 or 35 yards. Again, teams would still have the option of going for two from the 2-yard line.

Narrow the goal posts

Kickers are so good that it's practically impossible to miss the extra point. The crossbar is 10 feet off the ground. The uprights are 18 feet, 6 inches wide. Making the uprights narrower not only would make extra points more difficult but field goals, too. Most kickers are automatic within 40 yards. Even kickers ranked in the middle of the pack in the NFL converted about 88 percent of their kicks in 2013. Of regular kickers, the Raiders' Sebastian Janikowski finished 32nd in field-goal percentage, and he was successful on 70 percent of his kicks. His percentage was low partly because he has such a strong leg that Oakland asked him to try seven kicks beyond 50 yards, and he made only three of them. Bottom line: Field goals have become too easy, too. Narrow the uprights and make the kicks more difficult.

Eliminate the extra point kick

Replace the kick with a play from the line of scrimmage. Again, you get the current six points for a touchdown. You then get the ball at the 2-yard line. If you score, you get an extra point.

Really move the extra point back

Instead of making it a 30- or 35-yard kick, make it a real challenge: make it a 50-yarder. And if you want to go for two points, make that harder, too: put the ball on the 10- or 15-yard line. Make the extra point a difficult play. Make it not so automatic. Make it exciting.

Best line

"The New York Yankees, God bless them, went out and signed this tremendous pitcher from Japan, Masahiro Tanaka. I don't know much about the pitcher, but sports guys all say that he has great stuff. And when they said that, Alex Rodriguez said to himself, 'Oh yeah, what kind of stuff?' "

— CBS Late Show host David Letterman

Media notes

Fox News' Bill O'Reilly will conduct a live sit-down interview with President Barack Obama during Fox's Super Bowl Sunday pregame show. The interview is expected to air around 4:30 p.m. and, according to Fox, will cover an array of topics.

• According to Sports Illustrated, after nearly two rather unmemorable years at NBC Sports, it appears Michelle Beadle will eventually end up back where she used to be: ESPN.

• Starting Monday, ESPN will carry 115 hours of TV and radio programming from New York City in anticipation of Super Bowl XLVIII, which is being played in New Jersey.

Three things that popped into my head

1. The big story of the offseason for the Yankees is adding nearly $450 million in payroll by signing high-priced free agents Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran to large, multiyear deals. The big story for the Rays is whether or not they will trade David Price because they can't afford him long-term. That's sad for Rays fans and a sign to Major League Baseball that the sport is broken.

2. I think it's dumb that Tony La Russa and Greg Maddux can't pick a hat to go on their Baseball Hall of Fame plaque. I realize La Russa managed and Maddux played on several teams near and dear to them, but just pick a hat, fellas! La Russa should go in as a Cardinal, and Maddux should go in as a Brave.

3. The Pro Bowl is on tonight, but maybe I'll get lucky and my cable will go out.

tom jones' two cents

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