Owners approved moving the point-after touchdown kicks to the 15-yard line, making it a 33-yard attempt, and will allow defenses to score on turnovers during two-point conversion attempts. Defenses will be awarded two points when they return a turnover to the other end zone on two-point tries or on a botched extra-point try.
The changes to extra points were approved at the NFL owners meetings in San Francisco by a 30-2 vote, with Washington and Oakland voting no.
Last year, only eight of more than 1,100 extra-point attempts were missed, and six of those came on blocks, making it more than a 99 percent conversion rate. Two of those missed extra points — both blocks — came by Green Bay’s Mason Crosby. For his career, he has missed only four of 405 point-after tries — a 99.01 percent success rate. Three of those misses were blocks.
"There was strong sentiment coming out of our meetings in March that something had to be done with our extra point," said Texans general manager Rick Smith, a member of the competition committee that proposed this specific rule change. "From a kicking perspective the try was over 99 percent (successful), so we tried to add skill to the play.
"It was also a ceremonial play."
Officiating chief Dean Blandino said the percentage of kicks made from 33 or 34 yards has been around 93 percent. On field-goal attempts ranging from 30 to 39 yards, Crosby’s career success rate is 87.3 percent. That includes going 19-of-20 (95.0 percent) the past two seasons, with that miss being a block last year. From exactly 33 yards, he is 12-of-13, with the lone miss a block back in 2008.
"The kicker's a skill position now," said Troy Vincent, who’s in charge of NFL football operations. "We're not trying to take the foot out of the game."
The hope is more teams go for two-point attempts. Since the two-point play was added in 1994, Green Bay is 23-of-46 — 50.0 percent. Opponents are 35-of-74 — 47.3 percent. Under coach Mike McCarthy, the Packers are just 7-of-18 — 38.9 percent. Worse, over the last five seasons, Green Bay is merely 2-of-11 — a shockingly low 18.2 percent, considering the overall firepower of the Packers' offense. During Dom Capers' six years as coordinator, opponents are 8-of-18 — 44.4 percent - .
The change was approved only for 2015, then will be reviewed. But Smith predicts it will become permanent.
"This isn't an experiment," Smith added. "This is a rule change. We expect this to be a part of the game."
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