You may have heard that the NFL has decided to move the extra point attempt to the fifteen-yard line, while leaving two-point conversions at the two. As Chase Stuart nicely points out, given the current skill level for making 33-yard field goals, this move is a lot more form than substance.
But it should raise a real bumper crop for second guessing.
What we may see, though, is a missed extra point costing a team a game. Or, perhaps, causing a team to win a game. That could happen if say, a team is down 20-10, scores a touchdown and misses the extra point, and then gets the ball back down 4. No longer strained by conservatism, a team may wind up scoring the game-winning touchdown instead of settling for a field goal. So, what happens first: a team loses a game because it misses an extra point, or a team wins a game because of it? And yes, posing that question is a sign of how bored I am by this news.
Man, I can hear the pundits now.
Stuart points out the math that the coaches will ignore – “From an expected value standpoint, an extra point now drops from 1.00 points to 0.95 points; one could argue, therefore, that a 2-point conversion now needs to be successful only 48% of the time to make it the better proposition.” – but, again, that’s in the League, where kickers are far more consistent than they are at the college level.
Which leads me to ponder the obvious – what would happen if the same rule were adopted for the college game? I don’t know what the overall success rate is (and I’m not going to take the time to do the math), but you can look here and see that while there are plenty of kickers sporting high percentages, unsurprisingly, the overall rate of success isn’t anywhere near the NFL’s 96%. Which would mean the value of going for two would increase in collegiate football.
I just wonder how all of this would fit into Mark Richt’s world view. Gee, how has that kind of stuff worked out in the past?
There’s a difference between coaching conservatively and coaching scared. What happened on the ensuing kickoff reminded me so much of what happened in the overtime loss to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl after the 2011 season. Georgia ran out to an early lead, blew it, took the game into overtime and was on the verge of pulling out the win after a Rambo interception. The conservative thing to do then was check Blair Walsh’s stats on the season, realize that he was money on kicks of 40 yards or less, a bad check on anything longer, and pound the ball three straight plays to improve the odds of his making a winning kick. Richt instead chose to run Aaron Murray around on second down for a loss, taking Walsh out of his comfort zone, and kick on third down. The end result: a miss and a loss.
Let’s just say I’d rather not cross that bridge.