Alternatives to the NFL's idea for 43-yard extra points
The NFL reportedly is toying with the notion of backing up extra points from the two-yard line to the 25, creating 43-yard attempts and thus making the whole process far less automatic than it currently is.
Is that enough of a change? More importantly, are there any better -- and possibly more entertaining -- options out there? Maybe ... starting with these ideas:
• Extra point "zones": A pitch similar to the three-point line in basketball (or, less popularly, the two-pointer in Major League Lacrosse). In other words, the farther you back up, the more points are on the line. So, the traditional XP could stay available from the two. But teams also could choose the option of the proposed 43-yarder for two points; or step it back even deeper to try a 60-yarder for three. 70 yards? Four points.
The NFL could add drama to its games with this approach. If a team is down 10 and scores a touchdown in the closing seconds, does it try for the onside kick or attempt a 70-yard four-pointer for the tie?
• The rugby rule: When a team scores the equivalent of a touchdown in rugby (a "try"), it then attempts a conversion kick. The catch? That kick must be taken in line with where the try occurred, though the team can back up as far as it wants to find a better angle.
To put that in football parlance, imagine a wide receiver catches a TD on a fade at the back corner of the end zone. The ensuing extra point then would have to be kicked at the same distance from the sideline as where the wide receiver was, with the offensive team allowed to spot the ball at any yard line it wanted to ease the kicker's task. Rugby players attempt to score as close to the middle of the field as possible. Would NFL teams do the same?
• You scored it, you kick it: Something tells me the kickers of the world would be against this one, but this idea is that the player responsible for the touchdown would then have to attempt the extra point. Calvin Johnson hauls in a TD pass? He's then the kicker on the next play. Darrelle Revis houses a pick-six? Same deal. No doubt this rule would increase the number of two-point conversions attempted. Which leads us to ...
• Eliminate extra points: Instead of finding a new way to make these plays more competitive and exciting, how about just scrapping them from the game? The NFL then could use a combination of its current two-point conversion rules and the aforementioned "zone" scoring to create a system by which offenses could tack on points after a TD -- score again from the 3 for one point; score from the 10 for two.
• Make it automatic: You know how many extra points were missed during the 2013 regular season? Five. Out of 1,267 attempts. Thirty different players, including punter Spencer Lanning who had to sub in on one attempt, made all of their tries.
An alternative: Touchdowns are worth seven points ... unless you opt to go for a conversion, in which case the original score is worth six and a team must convert a typical two-pointer for the bonus.
Have any other ideas? Let us know about them in the comments.