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Placekicked extra points officially moved back


Extra points will never be the same.

By a 30-2 vote, NFL owners ratified the Competition Committee's proposal to move the line of scrimmage for placekicked points after touchdown back to the 15-yard-line. That turns a 20-yard attempt into a 33-yarder, adding a degree of difficulty to a play that had become a virtual certainty in recent decades.

The rules change also makes it possible for the defense to return a blocked kick, an interception or a fumble for two points on a one- or two-point conversion attempt. A Philadelphia Eagles proposal to also move the pre-snap spot for two-point conversions from the 2-yard-line to the 1-yard-line did not succeed.

These are the most radical changes to the try after the touchdown since 1994, when the two-point conversion was added to the NFL. (The AFL had two-point conversions during its 1960s run.) The other massive change to extra points came in 1974, when the goal posts were moved back from the goal line to the back of the end zone, turning a 10-yard attempt into a 20-yarder.

The 1974 shift dropped the extra-point success rate from 97.6 percent in 1970-73 to 91.8 percent from 1974-79. Four Broncos games over the first five years after moving the goal posts back were decided by failed extra points.

That 5.8 percent drop is in the ballpark of what could be expected from moving PATs back in 2015. During the two-week trial period last August, kickers converted 94.3 percent of their 33-yard PAT attempts -- 5.1 percent below the success rate of the 20-yard kick from 2010-14.


The league hopes that adding uncertainty to the once-automatic PAT will create tension for a play that has mostly lacked it in the last three decades.

The Broncos haven't had a game decided by a failed extra point since Dec. 24, 2006, when a mangled snap and hold on what would have been a game-tying Shayne Graham extra point allowed Denver to escape with a 24-23 win over the Bengals that clinched the Broncos' fifth consecutive winning season, matching a franchise record from 1983-87.

It is also possible that the move will provide greater incentive for teams to attempt more two-point conversions.

"It will be interesting," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said Tuesday night. "I see us working on two-point conversions a lot more than we did in the past."

The percentages could offer validation for some teams to change their post-touchdown philosophies.

Since 2010, the success rate in going for two is 48.10 percent, compared with 99.4 percent when kicking for one point, making the average score 0.994 points per attempted PAT, and 0.962 points per attempted two-point conversion.

But during last summer's two-week trial period in moving back PATs, the average output was 0.943 points per attempted extra point -- 0.019 points fewer than the average, in theory -- if you went for two every time.

During the 2010-14 regular seasons, NFL kickers hit 93.4 percent of their field-goal attempts of exactly 33 yards. If that rate carried over to 33-yard PATs, the average output of 0.934 points per PAT attempt would be 0.028 points fewer than the two-point average in the same span. But all that is theoretical, and doesn't take into account specific game situations that would impact decisions.

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