We start with the premise that every commissioner of every sport feels like they need to put their stamp on the sport it is he oversees.
Despite their mission being to ensure the viability and profitability of the game, to serve the owners as a CEO would serve shareholders, commissioners want legacies. They want into their sport's Hall of Fame as badly as the players do.
Game managers generally don't become Hall of Famers. Taking over a machine that's spewing cash like a monetary geyser and watching it spew more cash through the continued inflation of TV rights is essentially "game managing" when it comes to being a commissioner.
So NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tinkers, and spitballs, and even makes dramatic change that, while insulating the owners from future concussion lawsuit damages, detrimentally effects the viewing experience.
And for a commissioner who has floated ideas like having Super Bowls in London and playing 18 game seasons, his thoughts on eliminating the kicked extra point are his dumbest ones yet.
And that's saying something.
Because his idea is, as Livia Soprano would say, a "big nothing."
First, just to lay out the story, the field goal style point after touchdown has essentially become a non-event. In the 2013 season, there were five missed extra points -- one each from Cincinnati, Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit and Jacksonville -- in 1,267 tries. The active kicker with the worst PAT conversion rate is Graham Gano, who has made 97.6 percent of his regular-season kicks since coming into the league four seasons ago.
Death, taxes, and extra points, basically.
Well, apparently, in addition to ensuring the owners continue to pocket billions of dollars (which is essentially the equivalent of making sure the trains run on time), Roger Goodell has made it his duty to ensure that every single play of every game have some sort of drama attached to it. No formalities!
To be clear, I don't even mind the spirit of what Goodell is trying to do. There's nothing wrong, I suppose, with adding increased drama to every play so long as it's done within reason or with logic. I'm not ultra offended by the PAT's existence, but if some people are, then revamp it.
However, Goodell's proposal to remedy the situation makes no sense:
"You want to add excitement with every play," Goodell said. "So there have been some proposals. Some are still going through the process of creativity, but there's one proposal in particular that I've heard about (where) it's automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball. But if you fail, you'd go back to six."
Um, dude. So let me get this straight --
Under current rules, the PAT has become a virtual 100 percent proposition. In other words, teams essentially get seven points for a touchdown right now already. If they decide to go for two points after a touchdown under the current rule and they make it, they will have a total of 8 points, if they miss, they'll have 6 points.
Under your proposal, Rog, they would literally automatically get the seven points for a touchdown, and if they went for two points and made it, they'd have 8 points, and if they missed it, they'd have 6 points.
So, what exactly changes?
Answer: Nothing, really.
Well, not nothing. The proposal basically eliminates kickers (and holders and long snappers) from the PAT equation, reducing their workload slightly, but also reducing their necessity slightly. Understandably, at least one of the kickers didn't take too kindly to the proposal:
Eliminate PATs? Success rate too high? QBs better be careful. The forward pass is becoming increasingly efficient. # penalize progress
— Phil Dawson (@phil_dawson_4) January 21, 2014
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(NOTE: The best part about Dawson's tweet is it wound up on my timeline because it was retweeted by Texans long snapper Jon Weeks. There's just something funny to me about long snappers retweeting kickers about their concerns over rule changes. It's like the most superfluous portion of the proletariat rising up during the Industrial Revolution and unleashing a barrage of popcorn farts.)
Honestly, I'd be more excited for almost any PAT revamping other than Goodell's proposal. Back the kicker up ten yards, make teams go for two every time (injury alert!), put in moving goal posts and windmills (mini golf homage!). For the record, if it has to change and kicked PAT's need to be eliminated, I'd make teams go for the PAT from the 2 yard line for one point, then make a 2 pt conversion available from some yard line further back (to be determined by stat geeks).
Let's just hope it's not more Goodell tinkering to put more Goodell stamps on the game, because that's not a good thing at all, but it is par for the course.