The NFL continues to miss the point.
Wait. Don’t stop reading. This is not another Deflategate story. It’s about what happens on the football field. No police blotter stories. Just football and how the NFL could make its games better.
It’s a dead horse that I’ve been beating for a while in this space, but I’m still holding out for a Lazarus moment when at least one of the owners wakes up and realizes that field goals are ruining their sport.
The owners will hold their annual Spring Meeting in San Francisco next week and the word is that, when they’re finished, we will have a new extra point.
There are three proposals and they’re all stupid and a waste of time.
The Patriots’ proposal would have the ball snapped from the 15-yard line for a one point kick and the ball would be put at the two yard line for a two point attempt.
Last season, the 32 teams missed a total of 27 attempts between 30 and 39 yards and, of course, many if not most of those misses were probably from farther than 32 yards. (Too tired to look it up.)
So, kicking from the 22 won’t change the extra point attempt from a signal that it’s time to go to the bathroom. It’ll still be all but automatic.
The Eagles are proposing snapping from the 15 for the kick and from the one for the two point try, but they want to allow the defense to score on any two point try if there is an interception or a fumble.
The NFL competition committee has the third proposal which is the same as the Eagles’ proposal except that the ball would be snapped from the two yard line on two point tries.
The owners would be better off spending time filling paper bags with water and throwing them out their hotel windows than wasting it on any kicking discussion that doesn’t include making field goals less likely to be attempted.
The only way to accomplish that would be by making them harder to convert.
There are 32 teams in the NFL. They each play 16 games. Do you know how many field goal attempts from inside 50 yards were missed last season?
That’s an average of 2.97 field goals missed from zero to 49 yards per team per season.
And the NFL owners think the extra point is a problem?
The Falcons and Ravens didn’t miss a field goal from 50 yards all season long.
The Patriots, Colts and Steelers missed one.
If you’re a kicker, call the Detroit Lions. They missed nine. The Dolphins were the only other team to miss more than four.
Remember, that’s all season long.
The actual act of kicking the field goal is boring enough, but that’s not the biggest reason for making them harder to make.
It’s what the inevitability of the three points does to the coaches. It makes them play too conservatively when they get inside the 40-yard line.
Teams trying for touchdowns and not making them is a lot more exciting than a 32-yard field goal.
At least I think so. Maybe there’s somebody out there who would rather see that than a team going for it on 4th and five from the 15. If so, we haven’t met.
Jan Stenerud is the only place kicker in the Football Hall of Fame.
He retired 30 years ago with an accuracy rate of 66.8%.
Last season, NFL kickers made 58% of their kicks from 50 yards and beyond and 88% overall.
And they’re going to spend more than a minute and a half trying to add excitement to the game by changing the extra point?
More proof that owning a monopoly can be a wonderful thing.
Pittsburgh ex-TV sportscaster, columnist and talk show host John Steigerwald is the author of the Pittsburgh sports memoir, “Just Watch The Game.” Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast at pittsburghpodcastnetwork.com