For many NFL fans, the best time to take a bathroom break is after their favorite team scores a touchdown. The extra point is virtually automatic — and is then promptly followed by a commercial break. Point afters, or PATs, were converted at a 99.5 percent clip last year and, in an attempt to make the extra point something worth watching, owners overwhelmingly voted to move the kick from the 2-yard line to the 15.
Support for the rule change was so widespread, MMQB editor Peter King reported, that the owners conversed for a mere 30 minutes. In that half-hour, they must have forgotten to consult two kickers: Denver Bronco Connor Barth and former Arizona Cardinal Jay Feely, who were less than pleased with the rule change:
Feely told the Arizona Republic that it will create “60 or so more plays that offensive linemen can be injured because they are in a precarious position and defenses will undoubtedly rush harder from the 15 with the ability to score.” (If defenses recover the ball during the attempt and return it to the end zone they earn two points.)
"I think Mr. Goodell’s argument that, 'Oh, it’s become too automatic. Let’s get rid of it,' is a bit disappointing."Nick Sundberg, Washington long snapper
In an interview with the Denver Post, he said,“Most guys can hit 33-yarders in their sleep."
Last season the Broncos kicker was 11-for-11 in field goal attempts under 40 yards. Across the entire league, only two 33-yard attempts were missed.
Meanwhile, two-point conversions attempts were only successful about half the time. Owners hope that moving back the extra point attempt will make conversion attempts more prevalent.
If the 33-yard extra point becomes automatic, NFL owners may tinker with the rule again next year, meaning our bathroom breaks might still be in jeopardy.
Nick Sundberg, a long snapper with the Washington Redskins, explained to Only A Game last year why he's against a longer extra point. He thinks the NFL is punishing players for being good at their jobs:
The reason [the extra point] has become so automatic is because we have been demanded to perform at the highest level on every single snap. Ninety-nine percent isn’t good enough for us. It has to be 100 percent. So what we’ve done is, we’ve risen to the occasion.
We work year-round to become perfectionists at our craft. You know, we take this very, very seriously. There are 32 people in the world who have my job, and I’m lucky enough to be one of them. So saying that, I think [Commissioner Roger] Goodell’s argument that, “Oh, it’s become too automatic; let’s get rid of it," is a bit disappointing.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith tweeted that he is happy with the change — though his reasoning may not be based in reality. Smith plays Madden, a hit football video game, and likes to go for two in the game instead of kicking extra points. From now on, he might have an easier time explaining his choice: