NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is thinking about giving the boot to the extra point.
Can I help limber up his leg?
Talking earlier this week on the NFL Network, the commish floated the idea of abolishing the extra point. It's become almost automatic, and as a result, it's become exceptionally boring.
“And you want to add excitement,” Goodell said.
The extra point's time has passed in the NFL. Maybe not in the college game. Definitely not in high school ball. But in the NFL, it is about as exciting as a Bill Belichick press conference.
During the 2013 regular season, NFL teams attempted a total of 1,267 extra points. Only five were missed. I'm sure those five plays were dramatic, but if you get one thrilling play out of every 253 attempts, that isn't nearly enough.
That's a waste of time.
The truth is, the extra point came about in a different era. Football scoring as we now know it came about, for the most part, in 1912. The sport decided that a touchdown would be worth six points and the point after touchdown would be worth one. Then — as well as when the NFL came about eight years later — the kicker was likely to be a position player who kicked because, well, he was the best of a team full of bad options. And that meant the extra point was anything but automatic.
It was an adventure.
But kickers who look more like Beetle Bailey have given way to ones like Dan Bailey, and they simply do not miss 20-yard chip shots.
Now, college and high school kickers are a different story. Major-college kickers as a group are close to being as automatic as NFL kickers, so they might consider a change to the extra point at college football's highest level. But kickers at the lower college levels and in the high school ranks? Those guys as a group are not nearly as refined, so the extra point is still interesting, unlike the NFL.
So, what is football to do?
Goodell offered up this solution: make a touchdown worth seven points, then teams can decide whether to attempt what is now a two-point conversion. If they make it, they get two points. If they don't, they have a point taken away.
Frankly, I'm not a fan of points being taken off the board. Something about that smacks of rules that kids make up in the backyard. Nothing against kids playing in the backyard, but the NFL is a bit more refined than that.
Why not keep the extra point but make it longer?
Push it back, push it back, waaaay back.
If the only option is keeping the extra point as it is or doing away with it entirely, I'll go with kicking it out. But if Goodell is open to suggestions, opting for a longer, less automatic kick would be my pick.
Look at the average length of field goals missed over the past few years. Pick a window. Five years. Ten years. Whatever.
Then, whatever that average distance turns out to be, make that the length of an extra-point attempt.
It would create a play that is not a sure thing, and that would be exciting.
And if the NFL is so inclined, it could adjust that distance over time. Every five years or 10 years or whenever, it could look again at that average length of field goals missed and adjust accordingly.
I'm sure that some football purists will crow about making a change like this. But the truth is, the extra point is 102 years old, and it has become a relic. Since it was born, many rules of the game have changed as the game and the players in it have changed. Now the time has come for the extra point to change.
The NFL is the hottest thing going in sports. It has the most drama, the most excitement, the most edge-of-your-seat moments.
The extra point as we know it just doesn't belong.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.