Packers would support the proposed new extra point approach
League may move extra points back 15 yards next season
PHOENIX — For the NFL, changing the extra point apparently is a matter of when, not if.
And the Green Bay Packers are on board with the format that the league will most likely ratify at their next meeting in San Francisco in May and put into play for the 2015 season: Moving the line of scrimmage for extra-point kicks to the 15-yard line (making it a 33-yard kick) while moving up the line of scrimmage for 2-point conversions to the 1 1/2-yard line, a foot and a half closer to the goal line.
Although the league did not change the post-touchdown play during the annual NFL Meetings at the Arizona Biltmore hotel before the event wrapped up Wednesday, Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy and others said there is growing support for doing something about the virtually automatic kick, which was converted over 99 percent of the time during the 2014 season. The league experimented with 33-yard extra point kicks during the preseason last summer.
“We didn’t vote, but we did have a lively 35-minute discussion, with a lot of good ideas,” said Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, who serves as the co-chairman of the competition committee. “In the next 30 days, I think the competition committee, with input from a lot of coaches, will develop some alternatives and be ready for a possible vote in May. There’s movement to make a change and make it this year.”
Murphy said owners, coaches and general managers spent a significant part of meetings Tuesday talking about the extra point, just as they had last year during the NFL Meetings in Orlando, Fla. The discussion continued on Wednesday.
“There was a real strong consensus that we have to do something. It’s a dead play, it’s an automatic play. But really, nobody had a solution,” Murphy said before leaving the Biltmore Wednesday afternoon. “So we had a good discussion about all different options today. What we’re going to do is, it’ll go back to the competition committee and we’ll come up with a recommendation to be voted on in May.”
Murphy is on the competition committee, so the fact that he’s on board with the proposed change means it’s likely to pass before the 2015 season begins.
Murphy said in addition to moving the kick back, moving the 2-point conversion line of scrimmage up a half-yard could entice coaches to go for two more often. Murphy said putting the ball at the 1-yard line was discussed, but that it could create issues with pick plays and might also lead to quarterback sneaks, which he suggested wouldn’t add the excitement the team is looking for on the plays.
Also, Murphy said the thought is to allow defenses to return a blocked kick, an interception or a fumble for a potential 2-point play of their own, as is the case in college.
“It doesn’t happen very often, but … it’s kind of the same as, why didn’t the NFL have the 2-point conversion for years?” Murphy said.