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Sports Viewpoints: Do We Really Care About the Extra Point?
The unsung heroes of NFL football teams. Ask the Buffalo Bills how they would feel if they would've had a kick go through the uprights instead of wide for at least one Super Bowl victory. As I'm a native Louisianan, I grew up a New Orleans Saints fan. As of late, it's a position I'm grateful for, that helped propel the Saints to a Super Bowl victory in 2009, helped with not just the kicks but with the punter as well. So, needless to say, special teams are important in football.
However, there has been this dreaded thing called the "extra point", a mundane task where you get up to get more chips and dip, bbq, etc. To help spice things up a bit, the NFL decided to make the extra point a bit tougher this year, backing things up to the 15 yard line this year in hopes of creating a little drama. So.....how did they do?
NFL place-kickers have missed 71 extra points this past year. That's the highest number of misses since 1977, and the lowest accuracy percentage since the early 80s. With the accuracy obviously going down, some coaches such as Mike Tomlin with the Pittsburgh Steelers decided that going for the 2 point try would be more advantageous. Kickers themselves were reporting that the longer extra point was adding inconsistency to their normal field goals, and there were jobs lost because of it.
So, while the extra point hiccups have caused some workarounds in this past year.....what did this do for you and me, the casual sports tv viewer? I don't believe it added any crazier drama than normal this year. I do know that situations were interesting if you missed the extra point, because your team then had to either come back from a deficit or was up by more points due to a 2 point conversion. Frankly, should we care?
The short answer is no...not really. The NFL has succeeded in making the extra point more difficult, therefore reducing your ability to move to get more beer from the ice chest during the EP. But it hasn't really provided this nail biting moment yet....those are still saved for the game winning field goals that most people have heart attacks over. That's still one of the most heart pounding moments in all of sports, much like the game winning free throw in basketball.
The NFL's core drama doesn't really play out in the extra point, and I don't think it ever will on a consistent basis. So, no, we shouldn't really care, but it's not a gimme try anymore.