The National Football League’s Commissioner Roger Goodell has hinted that he could see a time when the ‘extra point no longer has a place in the NFL’ and if the league does move to replace the extra point they should look to rugby to find the best way to add excitement and meaning to the point after.
The extra point has become so routine it is the best time for fans to head to the bathroom or grab a hot dog. Kickers converted 99.6% of the extra points in 2013 (1,178 for 1,183 attempted).
“Are there any plays in the game that really are not consequential?” Goodell said on Yahoo Sports. “You want to add excitement with every play.”
The NFL could look to rugby for answers on how to make every play consequential and with a simple rule change accomplish that goal and it would not require changing the scoring system.
It is hard to argue with the notion of looking to rugby since American football grew out of rugby. The term touchdown came from rugby; to score in rugby a player literally must ‘touch down’ the ball to score the try and not just reach it over the goal line. And the line of scrimmage developed from the rugby scrum and the scrummage to win the ball.
In rugby the conversion kick must be taken from a spot on a vertical line out from the place the ball was touched down for the try. The kicker can decide how far from the goal line he places the ball.
When a try is scored in the center of the endzone it is brought out much like in American football and spotted in the center of the field. But in the scenario when a try is scored in the corner, the kicker must spot the ball near the sideline with very tight angle.
Kickers would have plenty of new challenges with this rule change.
And teams could be encouraged to go for a 2-point conversion if the angle was too tight or in the event the extra point was being kicked from the side of the field a team’s kicker did not like.
The rule would make plays other than the conversion more exciting as well. Since where you score a touchdown directly influences the conversion, the decision making process in how a team scores the initial touchdown will be changed. The risk of a run on a 3rd and 2 may be a better option than taking an easy fade to the corner with a mis-match due to the placement of the resulting conversion.
Should the extra point rule be changed in the NFL? Should the top domestic American football league look to rugby for the answer on making the conversion more exciting? Talk about rugby on Rugby Rugby’s facebook page.