GLENDALE, Ariz. — In 13 NFL seasons, Jay Feely has attempted 446 extra points.
He’s made 444 of them.
His success is not uncommon.
Last season, NFL kickers combined to miss just five of 1,267 PATs, as they made good on 99.6 percent of their attempts.
The extra point as we know it has become a somewhat useless part of the game, essentially giving teams an automatic point following their touchdown. Unless the team opts for the two-point conversion, you might as well just give the scoring team seven points and move on to the kickoff.
It is with that in mind the NFL is set to mess with the extra point this preseason, placing the ball on the 15-yard line, rather than the two, on a PAT attempt. It will make the attempt roughly 33 yards.
When asked about the rule change, which will be in effect for Sunday’s Hall of Fame game as well as the first two weeks of the preseason as an experiment, Feely said he was not a fan.
“You take a play where, some teams have 70 extra points in a season, and you really aren’t rushing that hard so you don’t have guys that get injured that much on an extra point,” he said. “Move it back to the 15-yard line, you’re going to rush a lot harder, all the offensive linemen are going to be put in precarious situations. There’s going to be a lot more injuries.
“So you’re creating 70 more plays for no tangible benefit where the guys can get hurt. It runs kind of counter-intuitive to the changes that they’ve made.”
Indeed, much of what the NFL has done over the years with regards to rule changes has been in an effort to make the game safer. And to Feely’s point, the harder players try the more likely they are to get hurt, and they’re more likely to try harder when there’s a better chance of the extra point being missed.
And the other option, which would be to go for a two-point conversion, would have the same effect.
So if the idea behind the change is to give the PAT a little more excitement, this may work. But at the end of the day, Feely doesn’t believe it was necessary.
“I just don’t understand the reason why you’re doing something,” he said. “I didn’t think there was a public outcry to change the extra point. I feel like you’re just making a change to make a change. And when you put guys in a precarious situation and you add the risk of injury, I don’t think it outweighs the benefit. And I don’t see a tangible benefit.”