NFL kickers have mixed reactions to new extra-point rule

The Denver Broncos' Matt Prater kicks a field goal in the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game on Jan. 19, 2014.

The Denver Broncos Matt Prater kicks a field goal in the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game on Jan. 19, 2014.

(Mark Reis / MCT)

The NFL will make kickers work a little harder starting later this year, and some of those players couldn’t be more thrilled.

“I’m excited about it,” New York Giants kicker Josh Brown said of the league’s new rule that moves extra-point attempts after touchdowns back 13 yards to the 15-yard line. “It’s a play that you won’t turn the TV off for anymore.”

The league’s team owners approved the change Tuesday by a 30-2 vote in an attempt to add some excitement to a part of the game that has become almost automatic. Last season, kickers missed only eight of 1,230 extra-point attempts, a success rate of 99.3%.

But that was from 20 yards out. The new rule will have them trying from 33 yards out -- kickers have made about 94% of field-goal attempts from that distance during the last 10 years.


“If somebody was telling you, ‘Hey, we’re going to make your job just a little bit more important,’ why wouldn’t you take it?” said Vikings kicker Blair Walsh, who was four for four on 33-yard extra points during last year’s two-week trial in the preseason. “It’s a new challenge.”

But other kickers weren’t nearly as enthusiastic.

“I’m a traditionalist,” said Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, who hasn’t missed an extra-point kick since 2009. “I like the way it [was], but I understand they are trying to change the league to make it different.”

Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater said he “wasn’t too thrilled” when he heard about the change but figured, “What can I do about it? I’ll have to deal with it and make them all.”

Most everyone seems to agree that the rule change will most affect teams that play outdoors in sometimes inclement weather.

“Early in the year, I don’t think it changes much,” Vinatieri said. “I think come playoff time, when it’s windy, cold and fields are in crummy conditions, it might change some stuff.”

One kicker who’s taking it all in stride is Graham Gano of the Carolina Panthers.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s just another kick.” said Gano, who has made 93 consecutive PAT attempts after missing one during his first game with Carolina in 2012. “That’s how I’m going to treat it.”

Twitter: @chewkiii