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January 28, 2014

LINDLEY: Keep fans in their seats; dump the extra point

Goodell's idea seems like a good one.

(Continued)

Something with a success rate nearing perfection isn’t much of a challenge, he pointed out.

Maybe Belichick had Groza in mind when he explained his objection to the outdated play during a recent press conference: “That’s just not the way the extra point was put into the game. It was an extra point that you actually had to execute, and it was executed by players who were not specialists, they were position players. It was a lot harder for them to do.”

But if the National Football League’s competition committee decides to drop the extra point kick, what replaces it?

Goodell said a touchdown could be worth seven points, but a team that wants to try for an additional point — an eighth — could do so by running or passing the ball. If unsuccessful, the team would lose a point.

One of the sacred rules of football is never, ever take a point off the scoreboard. If that holds true, few extra points would be attempted. Coaches are too conservative to risk giving up something they’ve already earned.

Dropping the PAT wouldn’t be a big loss. In all likelihood, it would shorten the game by a few plays and perhaps eliminate an unnecessary injury.

There’s another way to look at the possible change. It’s odd that a game played by big, burly men is led in scoring by those with one main responsibility — kicking. The top 17 scorers in the NFL this season were all kickers. The guys who throw passes, make receptions or run for hard earned yardage aren’t the ones who lead the statistics in scoring.

The NFL could consider other adjustments than just eliminating the extra point kick, which really is nothing more than a field goal try of about 20 yards. Maybe the attempt could be moved back to a more difficult position — say 40 yards? Or perhaps the goal posts could be narrowed to 14 feet? Certainly no gimme there.

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