NFL Will Experiment with Moving the PAT Back to the 20 Yard Line in the Preseason

Kansas City Chiefs v San Diego Chargers

It’s NFL tweaking time, and the “point after” attempt has been a topic of debate. Apparently, the league will go through with some experimenting on this front. According to Albert Breer, the league will kick from the 20 yard line after touchdowns in preseason weeks 1 & 2. That would make it the equivalent of a 38 yard field goal.

I am all for rule tweaks. This seems like a bizarre one, or at least a more complicated rule change than necessary. If we want to legislate it out of the game, you could just remove the kick (which has become virtually automatic anyway), and give coaches the option of risking a point by going for two. My favorite fanciful suggestion, if we are going to experiment, would be to go back to rugby, and make the point after kick come from the point on the field where the touchdown “try” was scored. This would make touchdowns in the middle of the field more valuable, and put some strategy in goal line plays.

Still, it should be another interesting experiment in sub-optimal decision-making by NFL coaches. Kickers made 72 of 82 kicks from the 19 to 21 yard lines last year (88%). Two-point conversions are successful, once we weed out the bad snap attempts on PATs, at about a 50% rate. Individual circumstances alter that, but the default rule is that most teams should go for two, unless score needs (a tie game late, kicking the extra point to go up 9, dictate otherwise).


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