The NFL approved a rule change on Tuesday by moving the extra point attempt from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line. However, all two-point attempts will still be attempted from the 2-yard line. The hope is that this rule change will make the extra point more meaningful in the course of a game and possibly give teams more incentive to go for two.
Over the past three years, Carolina Panthers’ kicker Graham Gano has been nearly perfect on extra points connecting on 96 of 97 attempts with that one miss coming in 2012. The percentage drops a little bit though when he attempts kicks between 30 and 39 yards, connecting on 19 of 21 or 90 percent.
The move back to the 15-yard line may not necessarily deter the coaching staff from attempting the kick but it may be enough incentive to attempt more two-point attempts. The past three seasons the Panthers have only attempted a two-point conversion twice and converted one of them with both attempts coming last season.
This is a little surprising considering how much success the offense has had in short yardage situations. According to Football Outsiders, the Panthers converted for a first down or touchdown on 68% of their run plays on third or fourth down of two yards or less. The 68% ranked 10th in the NFL last year and in 2013 they were even better converting on 72% of their plays and ranked eighth.
This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise as this offense is built for those type of situations with running backs like Mike Tolbert and Jonathan Stewart. The mobile, big bodied quarterback Cam Newton is also a threat in these situations and is tough to stop.
With how well Gano has played the past couple of years and being as consistent as he has been, the Panthers most likely will not become reliant on the two-point conversion. However, with how this team is built and the success in the short yardage situations, it is probably safe to say they will be attempting more than two two-point conversions in 2015.