NFL chief says extra points may soon be history

Extra point

Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills kicker Dan Carpenter kicks for the extra point against the New England Patriots during the second half of a game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. on December 29, 2013. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

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by LORENZO REYES

USA TODAY Sports

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 7:39 PM

It’s the most forgettable play in American sports, but somehow, we still watch.

As it currently stands, the extra point is the cue for those in need of bathroom breaks and drink refills.

Soon it may be gone.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told NFL Network’s Rich Eisen that the league’s Competition Committee may consider abandoning the extra point system, and is listening to proposals for more entertaining alternatives.

“The extra point is almost automatic,” Goodell said. “I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd. So it’s a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.

“There’s one proposal in particular that I’ve heard about. It’s automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball, so if you fail, you go back to six.”

The NFL is an efficiently-run business. It knows how to make money and it knows when it can improve its product. League executives examine the extra point and see a lull. The translation is that it leads to the deterioration of the product. The most effective businesses maximize every moment of engagement with their customers.

The key is when Goodell says he “you want to add excitement with every play.” Failing to do so weakens the NFL.

Watch the average extra point. Half the players stand around and don’t try.

Purists will pout. Kickers will say their role is being diminished.

But if the new extra point system is an element that incites greater interest in the sport, then it’s an easy decision for the league.

“Is that going to discourage people from going for two?” Goodell asked, when he said that “some issues” still need to be resolved.

Based on the proposal Goodell described, it adds another wrinkle in an evolving game. It converts a monotonous process into something worth watching. The incentive to go for two will tempt aggressive and opportunistic coaches.

Others may take their seven points and shove the kickoff team onto the field. Either fans get the chance to see another drama unfold, or the game speeds up.

Either way, it’s a win for the league.

For those that currently us the extra point to top off their drinks, enjoy it now.

Soon you may be bound to watch until the first commercial invades your screen.

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