NFL strongly considers extra-point changes

NFL strongly considers extra-point changes
Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis boots an extra point during the regular season. (Jim Rassol / Sun Sentinel)

The NFL's gimme play appears to be on its way out.

Although owners didn't vote Wednesday on various proposals to change the extra-point play, the issue will be a central point of focus in May when the group reconvenes for a one-day meeting in San Francisco.


Rich McKay, co-chairman of the competition committee, said there's a "clear movement" in wanting to change the play for this season. The committee will develop alternatives and be ready for a potential vote at the next meetings.

The problem is, kickers are very accurate — they make PATs more than 99% of the time — making those plays virtually automatic and therefore superfluous.

Among the proposals being considered are moving the line of scrimmage back for extra-point kicks and/or placing the ball closer, at the 11/2-yard line, to encourage two-point conversions. There is a proposal to eliminate the PAT entirely, and one that allows the defense to score if the ball were to be turned over on a two-point play, as is the case in college football.

During the last exhibition season, the league experimented with longer extra points.

Not everyone is in agreement that the current system should be changed.

"I'm a traditionalist," Dallas Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett said. "I don't know that we should do much with the extra point. It seems like there's an emphasis on that, so we'll continue to see different options presented to us. I think the game is pretty good."

Other rules

When unsportsmanlike penalties are called at the end of a half or at the end of regulation in a tie game, those penalties will be imposed at the start of the second half or overtime.

The old rules stipulated that if a retractable roof was closed at kickoff, it had to remain closed for the entire game. Now, it can be opened at halftime if the weather is good.

Linebackers can now wear jersey numbers from 40 to 49, in addition to the traditional numbers in the 50s and 90s.

Owners voted down a proposal by Chicago that would give each team an overtime possession regardless of what happens on the opening series. As it is, if a team scores a touchdown on the opening possession of overtime, the game is over.

Earlier moves?

With the St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders all considering the prospect of relocation to the Los Angeles market, the NFL has entertained the possibility of moving up the window during which a team can apply for relocation. Currently, teams can apply in January or February, although it might be helpful for them to be able to apply earlier.

"We've had some discussions within our [Los Angeles] committee as to whether when it comes to relocation that's an appropriate time frame," Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "There's a lot to do to relocate a franchise, and if the decision was made earlier, would that give teams better opportunities to properly transition to the new marketplace?


"That's been discussed. We certainly haven't come to a conclusion on that."

Twitter: @LATimesfarmer