extra point2

Among the important offseason proceedings soon to be upon is the league’s annual meeting. In a room somewhere at a warm and sunny location, coaches and executives debate rules that will alter the game in some way, ideally (dear god hopefully, and please fix your incompetent refs) for the better. In recent years the modifications to the defenseless receiver rule have come from that mind meeting, and last year the crown-to-the-helmet rule which had us all throwing food at computer screens was passed.

This year we could see a long overdue change come into play: the elimination of the extra point.

Or maybe it won’t be this year, but judging by what commissioner Roger Goodell said to NFL Network’s Rich Eisen, change seems inevitable.

“The extra point is almost automatic. I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd (attempts). So it’s a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.

“There’s one proposal in particular that I’ve heard about,” Goodell went on. “It’s automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball, so if you fail, you go back to six.”

Traditionalists (see: older folk) won’t like this when it finally happens. But given Goodell’s quite rightful statement about extra points being automatic and the play itself therefore being irrelevant, the extinction of the gimmie boot is a logical step in an evolutionary process.

Of course, there was a time deep in dusty football history when extra points weren’t an opportunity for the crowd to take a collective urination break. As Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky notes, way back in the olden times of 1932 only 67 percent of extra point attempts were successful. But that number has been above 95 percent since 1984, and now it’s only a tick or two below perfect after 99.6 percent were converted this past season. One of the most famous/infamous examples of a missed extra point at any level of football beyond high school comes from 1968, and the much celebrated 29-29 tie between rivals Harvard and Yale that featured both a young Tommy Lee Jones, and an early missed PAT (related: I was probably the only guy watching Kevin Rafferty’s documentary detailing that game while on a flight once, and you need to watch it too).

But now it’s downright archaic, and there’s little reason for even a minimal injury risk to exist. You may be scoffing at the idea of an injury on an extra point attempt, a play where trying happens only a little bit anyway. But please recall Rob Gronkowski busting his arm while blocking on a point after attempt last season, and as we’re reminded every spring during the non-contact drills of OTAs, any time football players are on a football field, they have an opportunity to break or rip something. It rarely happens on an extra point, but why does even that rare chance need to be available on a play that’s obsolete anyway?

The potential change Goodell outlines wouldn’t alter coaching strategies either. In situations when teams need an eighth point, they would take that risk. Otherwise, the vast majority of time they’ll be cool with taking the seven, and the next kicking they do is on the following kickoff.

Embrace change guys, and let the extra point go the way of the Commodore 64.

More notes, reading, stray thoughts, and other such randomness

Warren Moon = the best

Homer broadcasters are great because they’re just fans too. Usually they’re fans who played the game for quite some time and are at least somewhat knowledgeable. But they’re fans nonetheless, and as such while massive events happen in massive playoff games, the audience gets to hear their raw emotion.

Usually it comes out in screams, sort of like this

Richard Sherman is the cornerback version of Terrell Owens

Or Chad Johnson/Ochocinco, or Dez Bryant, or DeSean Jackson, or name whatever other loud, boisterous, and demonstrative wide receiver that he frequently lines up against.

Some people — arguably, all of those wide receiver people — are naturally demonstrative, and it’s a personality you either love or hate quickly, something we can easily say about Sherman now. But the common element is that even with a casual thought off the top of your head, the word “diva” in football always brings about the image of a wide receiver. Maybe the image you see is Owens chasing Donovan McNabb on the sideline while asking for the damn ball, or Keyshawn Johnson actually writing a book called “Just give me the damn ball”.

But that’s the position where the diva is primarily isolated, because it’s the receiver’s job for most of the game to line up across from one man and beat him, and doing that consistently can make personalities grow, and heads expand quickly. So why are we so appalled when a cornerback returns that confidence and swagger?

As Kenneth Arthur from Field Gulls reminds us, we should be far less shocked when the cornerback in question actually was a wide receiver not so long ago, and a damn good one.

Well, Sherman was a wide receiver. He played it for over two years at Stanford, catching 81 passes for 1,340 yards, but the truth is that if Sherman hadn’t suffered a season-ending knee injury during his junior year, he might not be in the NFL today.

Sherman switched to the other side of the ball and played two years as a cornerback. Same attitude, same mouth, same nose for the ball as an item “you must catch,” but no selfishness. Why? Because naturally cornerbacks can’t be selfish. If you want the ball, Richard Sherman, you’re going to have to go out there and take it. That guy on the other side of the field throwing passes? That’s not your quarterback. That’s not your “Tony Romo” to yell at. That’s someone else’s quarterback and you can’t tell him to throw the ball in your direction.

You have to dare him.

When Sherman wins that battle, he lets everyone know it immediately. And if you happen to stick a microphone in his face seconds after a Super Bowl-appearance clinching battle ended, well, he’s going to give a pretty sizzling hot take. That’s who he is, and you’re entertained.

Detroit Lions: Conference participants

“Everyone Gets A Trophy” day is fair and balanced for all.