It was 2011 when the NFL moved kickoffs from the 30-yard-line to the 35-yard-line. This was done in an attempt to reduce the amount of kickoff returns. Kickoff returns are seen as a higher probability for injuries. Internal discussions have continued as to whether the league should completely eliminate the kickoff and let opposing offenses start at their own 20-yard-line.
Fans have expressed disappointment and concern over the ever-changing kickoff rules because it threatens to eliminate one of the most exciting plays in sports. The NFL insists that they’re looking out for player safety.
How can the NFL replace the diminished excitement from fewer kickoffs? Create an extra-point attempt that isn’t a near-automatic 19-yard field-goal attempt. During the 2013-14 season, it was converted at a 99.6-percent success rate. Commissioner Roger Goodell believes it doesn’t bring any excitement to the game because kickers have outgrown it.
How does the competition committee suggest to change that? Move the attempt back from the two-yard-line to the 25-yard-line. This makes for a 42-yard extra-point attempt. During the 2013-14 season, there was an 83-percent success rate for all field-goal attempts from the 40-49 range.
Consider a two-point conversion attempt. In 2010, Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats estimated that from 2000-09, the normal two-point conversion success rate was 47.9 percent. His sample size included 525 passes and 183 runs. Passing plays had a 43.4-percent success rate. Running plays had a 61.7-percent success rate. You can go more into details for specific situations (quarterback runs or running back runs, etc) HERE.
Converting the average of 47.9 percent of the two-point conversion attempts would mean that a team must convert 95.8 percent of their extra-point attempts to have the same net point total. The NFL’s proposal suggests an 83-percent success rate. An outdoor weather team could face an even more daunting task against unfavorable conditions.
Example: 83 percent of 100 extra-point attempts equals 83 points. 47 percent of 100 two-point conversions equals 94 points.
Such a rules change will anger traditionalists who enjoy the strategy that comes with deciding between going for one or two points. At the same time, only a foolish coach would attempt the 42-yard kick when he could have twice the reward after converting a two-yard play.
There’s logic with moving extra-point attempts back to a distance that promotes a 96-percent success rate (e.g. maybe the 12-yard-line?). It’s absurd to expect a kicker to get one point for a 42-yard kick. More importantly, an offense should score more points in the long run if they opt for two-point conversions instead of 42-yard attempts.
Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. A little change-up is fine. Enticing coaches to attempt more two-point conversions is awesome. Just keep it realistic.