The NFL owners meetings where teams will discuss and vote on proposed rule changes are this week.
While the focus will be on popular topics such as replay challenges, catches, and the number of overtime possessions, there is one potential rule change gaining support that would essentially eliminate one of the most basic concepts of football, the 7-point touchdown.
Of course, a touchdown in football is actually worth six points. However, the point-after-try is so automatic (99.3% success rate in 2014) that a touchdown is basically worth seven points except for the rare occurrences when coaches attempt a 2-point conversion.
The proposed rule change, which is gaining support according to Sal Paolantonio of ESPN, would move the 2-point conversion from the 2-yard line to the 1-yard line.
While discussing the proposed change on ESPN, Paolantonio speculated that the successful conversion of 2-point tries would increase from 47.5% in 2014 to 60-65% by moving the extra-point attempt closer to the end zone. If true, teams would, on average, add 12-13 points for every ten touchdowns compared to just ten points if they kick the 1-point try after every touchdown.
Former NFL head coach Herm Edwards predicted that if the change is made, 95% of the head coaches will go for the 2-point conversion, noting “there is no downside to it.”
Presumably, teams would only kick an extra point at the end of games when only a single point is needed or if the result of the game is no longer in doubt. In other words, 7-point touchdowns would become rare and would instead be worth either six or eight points far more often.
Last season, the NFL experimented with moving the extra-point to the 15-yard line to make the kicks less automatic while the 2-point attempts stayed at the 2-yard line. This change is also still being considered.
ESPN analyst John Clayton said any change is unlikely to made in time for the 2015 season, but noted that there “is a bigger groundswell” for moving the extra point to the 1-yard line and “more teams want to make this change.” Clayton added that this proposal could be tested in the preseason.
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