NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggested this week that the league could do away with traditional extra-point kicks after a touchdown. Sports editor Jon Styf and columnist Tom Musick discuss:
Musick: One of my friends once thought that Pat Good was a real person. She saw an NFL box score and was surprised to see that Pat Good played a part in almost every touchdown. Another friend was nice enough to break the news: Pat Good was not real. Instead, “PAT good” described a successful point-after attempt.
Styf: Kicking is part of the game. If we eliminate the extra point and the kickoffs, then I guess we can just eliminate the kickers, too. And long snappers. And special teams altogether. While we’re at it, let’s just get rid of running the football, too. Make it three downs. Extend or shorten the field and we can have either Canadian or Arena Football.
Musick: These are good ideas. Can we add water-filled footballs and robot referees?
Styf: And move the goalposts back to the front of the end zone, so people can run into them. I mean, I get it. Limiting head-to-head contact during a game is a goal. And eliminating one untimed play after each score, you do that in a small way. But that’s not what they’re selling it as. They are saying it’s an unexciting play and they want to get rid of it. Although they aren’t wrong, it’s part of the game. In golf, you have to make even the short putts. In football, you still have to make the kick.
Musick: You know, my first reaction was the same as yours, but I have started to warm up to the idea during the past few days. If extra points have almost a 100 percent success rate anyway, why not save some time and get straight to the good stuff? Make touchdowns worth seven points, and give teams the option to go for two and subsequently earn either six or eight points instead.
Styf: Also, this really would impact the value of the kicker on fantasy football. And it would have a negative impact on future Robbie Gould’s ability to feed his family.
Musick: I would hate for Gould to get a bad rep, but I think his family can manage with his new eight-figure contract. Besides, teams still would need kickers and long snappers for those game-winning field goals from 50-plus yards. If the NFL is going to add all sorts of replays and challenge and other time-consuming stuff, then let’s kill off Pat Good and save a few minutes.
Styf: Because replays are more interesting than kicks? That’s the tradeoff? I’m all for getting things right, but I’m sick of watching the on-field officials under the hood making decisions.
Musick: OK, new idea. Instead of replays, Robbie Gould will have to kick a 50-yard field goal to determine whether the Bears win a challenge. And it could count in fantasy football.