Going the Distance with the Proposed PAT Rule Change

By now, you probably have heard about the report regarding the NFL Competition Committee in talks about changing the distance of the PAT. Instead of kicking from the 2 yard line, kickers may have the ball placed at the 25 yard line, making the PAT a 43 yard attempt. The NFL suggests that when a play has such a high success rate, 99.6% in 2013, that has become a predictable outcome with no drama. Or as I like to say, the most boring 45 seconds of a football game.

The conversion rate for field goal attempts between 40 and 49 yards last season was 83%. Will the 16.7% difference be enough to increase drama and watchability of the PAT? I think so. This proposed rule change is based on the accuracy and skill of kickers. Period. They have become so specialized and efficient at their trade that the PAT is lacking drama, something the NFL thrives on. Drama is the drug of choice with the NFL and if they actually implement the rule change, they will turn the PAT into a strategic and important event in a game. Instead of an easy 1 point event that we are all used to, coaches will now mull over weather conditions, their confidence in their kicker, and more 2 point conversions. Imagine the drama at the end of a game when a team scores a touchdown with mere seconds remaining to then await a PAT from 42 yards which will tie or win the game.

Moving the PAT to the 25 yard line is a good move for the NFL. Having increased difficulty will make for more exciting football, not only for the PAT itself, but for the entire game. There will be more 2 point conversion opportunities, more strategy, and more people watching the PAT instead of just assuming it will be a successful attempt and hit the bathroom before everyone else does.


One thought on “Going the Distance with the Proposed PAT Rule Change

  1. Nice, simple explanation of why the rule change makes sense. I’m all for anything that will make games more interesting without drastically changing the product, so I think this would be a nice move.


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