The Indianapolis Colts want to change NFL scoring forever. According to Mark Maske, they proposed a new rule change saying that every time a team goes for two and converts that attempt, they should then be allowed to back the ball up to the 50 and take a free kick. If it goes through, they get another point, for a total of a nine-point play.
Every year, there are proposed rule changes that feel like they have traction and are going to go through, and there are other changes that are insane and have no hope. This proposal definitely doesn’t go into the former category. There’s no way it gets through.
Still, crazy rules are fun to mull over, and as dumb as this one sounds, what if it’s brilliant?
For one thing, it would give even more incentive to go for two. That additional point isn’t really any incentive at all, unless a team is down by eight. However, the two-point conversion is much more exciting and the extra point is as drab and boring as it gets. Most people use it as a chance to go get another beer. Why not make the game more exciting and put pressure on the offense?
The kicking game used to be less automatic, back when kickers and offensive lines weren’t as good. These days, it’s a complete given. It would be nice, in some sense, to bring that excitement and thrill back, not knowing if a team is going to get six points or if they’re going to vault all the way up to nine.
And that’s the second half of why it’s great — there’s a huge gap between getting just a touchdown and scoring both the two-point conversion and an extra point. That’s 50 percent more points.
What it would provide is a great chance for a team to catch up. Even if they surrendered a touchdown, they could stop the attempted two-point conversion, negating the free kick. Their own offense could then go down and score and get their three extra points.
If that happened just twice, they would have made up an entire touchdown’s worth of points, even without stopping the other offense from scoring. Of course, leading teams may still just settle for seven, but then trailing teams would be guaranteed to slowly catch up just by scoring and tacking on those extra points.
No one would ever be out of it. A team could be up by 18 points and it would really just be a two-score lead. That can change in seconds.
Some may argue that all this would do is simply change total scoring numbers. If teams started consistently going for two, getting it and then adding the extra point, the game would be higher-scoring, but the ability to come back would be the same.
That’s not true, though, when looking at the stats. Teams only make about 50 percent of their two-point conversion attempts, while making almost all of their extra points. It’s almost a guarantee that teams would miss half of their two-point attempts, opening up the door for a comeback.
Scoring may be slightly higher due to the free kick point, but it would stay pretty close to the same with the two-point conversion alone. And, teams could still elect to just kick and take seven.
It will never happen, as there are plenty of good arguments for why it’s stupid and shouldn’t pass. In some ways it’s a shame, because it would be a lot of fun to watch.