SAN FRANCISCO – The NFL voted to alter the format for extra points on Tuesday at a session of the NFL owners meetings. The changes were expected, with the league selected the NFL competition committee’s proposal over suggestions from the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.
According to the new rules, a 1-point kick try will now take place at the 15-yard line, setting up a 33-yard attempt. Two-point conversions will remain at the 2-yard line with new prospect of allowing defenders to return turnovers for 2-points themselves.
The rule will be implemented for one-year, but competition committee member Rick Smith, general manager of the Houston Texans, said this was not an experiment. The league could tinker with the kicking try distance.
The changes were approved by a 30-2 vote. Washington and the Raiders were dissenting votes.
Extra points have long been kicked from the 2-yard line, making it a largely ceremonial play converted 99.5 percent of the time. According to the league, a 33-yard extra-point try was converted 93-94 percent of the time during a preseason experiment.
“We tried to add some skill to the play,” Smith said. “The other element was an attempt to created a more exciting play. We wanted to give the defense and chance to return it. We also wanted to incentivize teams to go for two.”
There were some technicalities that come with the rule:
-- Teams can change their mind on whether to go for one point or two if a penalty negates the first attempt. The decision isn’t final. For example, if an offensive infraction pushed a 1-point attempt back too far, a team could change it’s mind and go for two points at a spot that includes the penalty distance. Teams could also make adjustments switching from a 2-point conversions to a 1-point kick try.
-- If a defensive player returns an extra-point attempt, it’s worth two points regardless of whether it was a 1-point kick attempt or a 2-point conversion try.
-- An offensive penalty does not negate an extra point attempt. Teams can just kick a 1-point or 2-point try from a farther distance.
-- If there is a score on the play, that play would be automatically reviewed per standard league rules. If a try fails and the game is outside of two minutes, coaches would have to request a challenge.