Interactive graphic: The increased irrelevance of the NFL extra point

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 01/21/2014, 01:17pm

Has the extra point in the NFL overstayed its welcome?

That’s what NFL commissioner Roger Goodell floated out there Monday night on NFL Total Access.

“Are there any plays in the game that really are not consequential?” Goodell said. “One of the issues that has happened is the extra point is almost automatic.”

And really, aren’t the extra points just plain boring?

“You want to add excitement with every play,” Goodell said.

One of the things being looked at is making all touchdowns count for seven points. Teams could then opt to run a play for an eighth point, but if they fail, they’d lose a point, making that touchdown only worth six points. Talk about drama, especially where Vegas lines are on the line.

Extra points: What should the NFL do?

If a change is made, it’s not the first time the NFL would alter the extra point experience. While PATs have been spotted at the 2-yard line since 1929, they also have been kicked from the 5- and 3-yard lines. In the 1930s, the goal posts were moved from the back of the end zone to the front, and moved to the back again in 1974, so the actual distance of extra points has varied greatly.

There’s no denying it — extra points don’t bring the drama they once did. For example, only 67 percent of PATs were converted in 1932.

Over the past 40 years, the success rate of extra points has significantly gone up.

Here’s a closer look at PAT trend:

Here’s something else to chew on: In 1975, the Bears’ Bob Thomas had a league-worst 82 percent success rate on PATs. Imagine that in today’s NFL.