Posted: 11:25 am Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

NFL may eliminate PATs but why not other special teams? 

By Jeff Schultz

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS SAN FRANCISCO 49ers

San Francisco fails to block a field goal attempt by Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka in the NFC title game. So much for that excitement.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league is considering proposals to banish the extra point after touchdowns.

That would be a start. This would be better: Eliminate all, or most, special teams.

In what I’m guessing was a completely orchestrated interview on the NFL Network, studio host Rich Eisen set things up for Goodell by likening PATs to pennies and said he has heard rumblings about a potential rules change.

This was Goodell’s response: “The extra point is almost automatic. I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd (attempts). So it’s a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.”

Goodell discussed a proposal that would award seven points for a touchdown instead of six. The scoring team would then have an option to pass or run for an eighth point, but would drop back to six if that conversion fails.

I like that idea. And while we’re at:

Eliminate kickoffs: It’s generally a useless exercise. It results in players getting injured more often than it does in long returns. Artificial surfaces, domed stadiums and stronger kickers also account for a high percentage of touchbacks. As an alternative, Just have teams start possessions at the 20 or 25 to open halves and after scoring plays.

• Tweak or eliminate punting: Similar to kickoffs/kickoff returns, this leads to a large number of injuries. But the league would have to institute a rule like having teams start possessions on their 20-, 25- or 30-yard line, depending on where the opposing team’s preceding possession ended after four downs. That’s workable. Here’s another option: If the league keeps punts, take some players off the field. Imagine the increased excitement in, say, a seven-on-seven punt return instead of 11-on-11. That certainly would make teams think twice about punting.

Tweak or eliminate field goals: The league has changed rules in the past to dissuade teams from attempting field goals. It effectively added 10 yards to all attempts by moving the goal posts from the goal line to the back of the end zone, and having the ball on missed field goals placed at the spot of the miss. But there are still too many field goals. Two options: 1) Eliminate them altogether. It would force teams to more seriously consider going for it on fourth down, adding more excitement to the game; 2) At the very least, narrow the goal posts to make field goals more difficult.

And now that I’ve alienated every placekicker in the league, what are your thoughts?

76 comments
NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

I'm fine with eliminating extra points and restricting the value of field goals (for example by making them worth fewer points inside the 40 yard line), but not punting. Removing punts takes a lot of strategy out of the game in the form of playing for field position. 

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

More from me:  There is nothing less exciting than a running play for no gain.  So, let's eliminate runs that only make it back to the line of scrimmage.  That should please the fans.  Also, another boring play is the incomplete pass.  Thus, it must banned.  Either teams aren't allowed to run plays that result in incomplete passes or if they do, then they get to do the play over until the pass is completed.  Fans love the passing game!  Hey, it's all about the fans!

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

I keep reading that an inordinate number of injuries occur on kicking plays, but have never seen statistics to back this up.  I think someone mentioned it, it kinda makes sense, it keeps being repeated, so now it's considered accepted wisdom.  Which makes me think it's not true. 

TBarclay
TBarclay

So you want to eliminate ALL kicks?  Well, then, you couldn't call it FOOTball anymore.  I guess we'd be left with just BALL?  I agree with killing P-A-T's, but the rest is hogwash -- and I think you know that and just wanted to stir up page views with provocative suggestions!


PGH
PGH

I can get behind changing PAT's but that's it.  Special teams are an exciting element of the game and offer the chance for a momentum changing shift in the game. 

TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

I have an idea lets not tackle and wear those silly little flags instead. 

Ted_Striker
Ted_Striker

Every once in a while you'll hear something so asinine you ask "is this a joke?" 


Well, this idea falls squarely into that corner. 



SimpleDawg
SimpleDawg

Geez....why don't we just completely change every aspect of the game. No blitzing or stunting, and no holding on the offense......the teams just run and down the field, and change the name to Track & Field Ball....


Take away the pads, and there will be no more dastardly penalties for unnecessary roughness.....or targeting.


Let's all play nice...and give everybody a trophy at the end of the game.

Intruder
Intruder

No field goals of less than 40 yards except in the last two minutes of each half.

reckingball
reckingball

Good????.............attempt at humor.

eliminate field goals............option 1 "force team to consider going for it on 4th down"

if they eliminate the punt, then they would already be going for it on 4th down

JSSN
JSSN

Bring back the damn drop kick!

RandyFalcon
RandyFalcon

I have some more suggestions to help destroy this game that I once loved. 


1) Since the NFL thinks that touchdowns excite fans (they used too but now they're just too common) and want to see even more of them with even higher scores, we should allow the offense to have 12 players while still limiting the defense to 11. Soon you'll see a score in the AJC and not know if it's an NFL score or an NBA score.


2) And to protect QB's even more we'll put a red vest on them and let them wear flags like in flag football. If you knock one down you get penalized. You stop them by pulling the flag and they are down where you pull it.


3) Also since the NFL seems to like to see yellow flags flying through the air we'll add another penalty. If one team goes 10 straight plays without a penalty we'll flag them for the "what you probably did but the ref's just missed" penalty.    

ceb795
ceb795

If field goals are eliminated, how will the Falcons score points? Smith just love kicking FGs!

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Oh? It wasn't all just tongue in cheek? Really? OK then.  


1) The automatic PAT is not a positive for the game now. But, don't eliminate the PAT, allow a choice. If a team chooses to kick, move it back to the 20 yard line or even the 25, with the intention of making it much less automatic. But, if a snap is botched and the kick does not happen - the play is over.  No picking it up and running it in for 2. And the defense cannot pick up a fumble or a bad snap on a kick attempt and take it down the field for a touch down.  If a team chooses not to kick and to go for 2, the rules stay the same as they are now.  


2) Leave punts alone. A lot of different things can happen because punts are no where near as automatic as PAT's. There could be a bad snap or the kicker could fumble or make a really lousy kick under pressure. Or there could be a rughing or running into the kicker penalty. The kicking team could make a great play and put the defensive team in deep hole at the one or half yard line.  There could be a fumble on the punt catch, or a hit on the return guy in violation of a fair catch signal. Or, the return guy could call a fair catch and miss or drop the ball. Or  there could be a catch and an exciting run back against all odds. Or the ball could be brought back for clipping or holding or whatever, after a great return. Or the kicking team might commit a penalty on the run back. Or the return guy could fumble when hit on a run back and the kicking team could pick up the ball and take it back down the field to the end zone.. Many exciting and unpredictable things  can happen when the ball is punted. Leave punts alone. 


3)  Field goals. Leave them alone, except for taking a page out of the NBA rules and awarding more points for distance. Based on where the ball is placed -  25 yard line or less - 2 points. 26 yard line to 35 yard line - 3 points. 36 yard line to 50 yard line - 4 points. 51 yard line and beyond - 5 points. The first down yard markers could be used in the event of a dispute to determine the distances. This would result in a lot of interesting situations and a requirement for using sound strategies in the use of field goals, and a better risk/reward situation.  

Reggie-dawg
Reggie-dawg

Eliminate the holder, the tee, and punts.  All kicks must be drop-kicked like in Rugby.  Can be from anywhere on the field at any time.  Live ball once it hits the ground.

redleg24
redleg24

It only takes one missed PAT to make the play worth watching.   Need to eliminate all blocking below the belt.  Blocking below the belt only serves to cause injury.  The best and most dramatic blocks are on blindsides above the waist on returns.

redleg24
redleg24

Keep PAT.  Only make them run/pass from the 5 yard line.

TampGator1
TampGator1

I am sure the kickers association will file a lawsuit.

JamesHellams
JamesHellams

dumbest ideas i have ever heard.... Rodger Goddell has poisioned the NFL with some of these rules changes and all this other nonsense... kickers got to earn a living too... besides a game winning field goal is fun as long as you are on the right side of it...

Dawggie
Dawggie

"Horrible, just terrible ideas." - NFL Players Association/Kickers Division

ramblingbuzz
ramblingbuzz

What????  Eliminate field goals? How would the Falcons score?

9awebb
9awebb

The first time JS has truly disappointed me. Just stop. Leave it alone. If it's not what you want then watch something else. 

Gman84
Gman84

Regarding Field Goals:

Since it's a game of penetration, make field goals count less the further out you are. For example 1-30 yards=3 points; 30-40 yards = 2 points and 50 plus = 1 point.

The counterpoint is that field goals further out are more difficult and should count more but under that scenario you are placing more importance influence on specialty position that really isn't looked upon like a regular player.

BTC
BTC

Before any game, the Probate Judge must first flip a coin, usually a new Spanish peseta, while the Visiting Captain guesses the toss. If he guesses correctly, the game is cancelled immediately. If not, the Home Team Captain must then decide if he wishes to play offense or defense first. Play begins after a frullip is touched to the flutney and the recitation "Mi tío es enfermo, pero la carretera es verde!", a wise old Chilean saying that means, "My uncle is sick but the highway is green!" Penalties are applied for infractions such as walling the Pritz, icing on fifth snivel, running with the mob, rushing the season, inability to face facts, and sending the Dummy home early.

The offensive team has five Snivels to advance to the enemy goal. Carrying the Pritz across the goal line is a Woomik and scores 17 points; hitting it across with the frullip counts as a Durmish and only scores 11 points. Except in the 7th Ogre (and the 8th, if it rains), only the offensive Niblings and Overblats are allowed to score. In such cases, the four Quarter-Frummerts are allowed to kick or throw the Pritz, and the nine Finks are allowed to heckle the opposition by doing imitations of Barry Goldwater.

The teams are to play a sudden-death overtime to break a tie, unless both Left Overblats are out of the game on personal fouls. If this is the case, the tie is settled by the teams lining up on opposite sides of the flutney and shouting dirty limericks at each other until one side breaks up laughing.

When an insufficient number of players precludes a regulation 43-Man Squamish match, a simplified version may be played: 2-Man Squamish. The rules are the same, except in 2-Man Squamish, the object is to lose.

BRAVES2143
BRAVES2143

Why not just eliminate tackling, you know to keep players from getting injuried.  IT'S FOOTBALL not ballroom dancing quit messing with it.  

mochafudge
mochafudge

Let's eliminate the Commissioner.  That would make it really exciting...

denniscbrown
denniscbrown

Love your thinking, Schultz. You forgot one, though. Wonder what the figures show about number of scoring results from the ball on the one-yard line. Why not just call the score automatic when there. Then let the defense flip a coin to see whether they will be giving up a 3 or 7 (maybe 6 or 8) point score. 


Hey, and while at it, let's add hankies in everyone's pocket so you don't hurt somebody by hitting them. If you lose your hankie, you fall down. 


What a crock!


One thing they should change, though. This trumpeting and pounding their chest and showing off after every "good" play is sickening. I give Deion credit for starting that one. I blame the league and players' unions for allowing it to go unchecked. Sure they have a celebrating rule. But look at your one hand and you'll be lucky to use all your fingers to count how many times they enforce it. 

seminoleking
seminoleking

every one of your suggestions was dumb............

leftisedzacharyright
leftisedzacharyright

First, narrow the goal post by5 feet.  Then make the PAT attempt from the 10 yard line.  Or make the PAT a mandatory run or pass play from the 5 yard line.  A 2 point play would be from the 15 yard line. 

Football is a violent game and that is its appeal to all of us, whether we admit it or not. Take out the violence and the game will die very quickly.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

The whole list is one horrible idea after another. Where is the proposal to eliminate tackling and play flag football instead? How about eliminating running plays? Can't wait for baseball - minus the DH of course!

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Move PAT mark to 25 yard line for more interesting tries.  Teams going for 2 could still line up on the 3 yard line but would be penalized if they faked and kicked.

Gordon82
Gordon82

How about this:

You only get 3 PAT attempts per game.  That would introduce some strategy into the game.  Do you take your PATs early, or go for 2 early to try to get a step ahead?  It would be interesting.

POAD2013
POAD2013

Hey Goodell.....why not make a touchdown a TOUCHDOWN. If the PLAYER can't be in possession of the football and TOUCH it DOWN in the Endzone then it is not a SCORE. I hate this crap of Jumping 3 yards out of bounds and holding the ball out being called a TOUCHdown. 

Change the name TOUCHdown to PLANEBREAKER. 

Stinger2
Stinger2

Jeff: By eliminating all uses of the foot, what new name do you propose for the game formerly called "football"?  

Tvshooter
Tvshooter

Because the NFL can't get ratings, fans at the games, and no one cares about football, we need these changes. Said no one. Ever.


It's not broke…you have so many injuries now, because you have way to many "hits" and not "tackles". Over the last several years, it's become about 'big hits" and not about stopping the guy with the ball, or blocking. They're just hitting. And still you have almost every DB, LB, CB and safety leading with their head.


How about this? You run in to tackle a guy and your feet leave the ground, it's a 15 yard penalty from spot of the foul and 1st down. Plus the offender sits out 2 series of downs.


Watching the playoffs the last few weeks, it' was rare to see a guy actually wrap his arms around a guy and drag him down. Didn't see anyone get injured that way. But almost every time a guy leaps into the air, and launched himself at the ball carrier-someone was at least slow to get up.

POAD2013
POAD2013

It is all about EXCITEMENT? I thought PLAYER SAFETY was the BIG ISSUE these days.

BCW1
BCW1

Bring back the drop kick for FG's and PAT's!!!

BSNBC
BSNBC

Leave it alone!

inoto20
inoto20

Eliminate kickoffs

This is a joke right? SO u wanna eliminate any chance of comebacks via onside kicks. Nice. You're an idiot JS. 

mdet
mdet

@ShovelPleaseI don't noticed more injuries on kicking plays while watching. It actually seems less.


JSSN
JSSN

@BRAVES2143 

You've never been to a "real ballroom dancing contest" have you?

BRAVES2143
BRAVES2143

@Tvshooter

Hits gets you on Sports Center at night tackles well they don't get you any TV coverage and the NFL is all about individual highlights not team performance.  You are right that most players have no clue how to tackle and if they can't put a big hit on someone all they try to do then is rip the ball out.  The sad part is this habit has worked it's way down the college game.  

denniscbrown
denniscbrown

@POAD2013 Yeh - and let's talk about PLAYER SAFETY. Sorry, but this is a rough and crushing sport. An individual that plays the game, just like the race car driver, skiier, bob-sledder, or hockey player should understand and be able to accept the risks or get off the pot. That's not to say certain safety precautions as far as helmuts, harnesses, or other pieces of equipment shouldn't be continually researched and implemented. But changing the way the game is played by altering the hits or attempting to reduce the speeds, etc., reminds me of the hackneyed saying "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." Or, "the checks in the mail" .....

USAF92
USAF92

@inoto20 That's a brilliant point - the part about onside kicks.  I'll reserve comment on the idiot part.

inoto20
inoto20

@USAF92@inoto20 

Well I expect better from someone who writes about sports for a living. How could he omit this obvious very important part of the game.  And he says kickoffs are a useless exercise meaning most kicks aren't returned but then says players get injured more than returns. Huh? Players get hurt when there's no return? Ok??

inoto20
inoto20

@USAF92@inoto20 

Exactly. We saw this in the college nc game. the only thing i think would be fine is if a kickoff goes into the endzone, it can't be returned. Whether it's caught or not. 

USAF92
USAF92

@inoto20 @USAF92 I agree.  Eliminating punts and field goals also puts an end to fakes which are some of the most exciting plays in football.  People may think that  the kicking game is boring but there is a great deal of strategy involved in all facets of the kicking game which, I feel, would be sorely missed if the kicking game were to be eliminated.