The NFL’s PAT Rule And How It Is Changing The Game 


The change the National Football League made on touchdown rule in the past season, which at the time appeared to be too much of a compromise to influence results, has had a tremendous effect in unexpected ways. It had a hand in influencing 2 games on Sunday, a nine hour session that turned out to be the most exciting time of the entire season. This is because it generated fresh strategies in an industry that is a victim of grey matter with regard to innovations on the field. This rule is set to have profound effect on Super Bowl lines.

We have since had twenty seven weeks that presented an opportunity of earning an additional point at the fifteen-yard line as well as an excellent opportunity of making live play. This implies that defenses have a chance to recover a loose ball either by a block or a fumbled snap and consequently return it for a 2-point conversion (A ball was initially placed at the two-yard lie).

The shift has succeeded in achieving its main aim. This nullifies the automation of the extra point and this is exhibited by a 99% to 94% success drop rate. However, 2 other by-products of the shift pique my interest more.

The rate of making 2-point attempts has increased close to twice, have an effect in games such as the Sundaymatchup between Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. The Steelers attempted going for two after all the 4 touch downs they made and were unsuccessful in all to lose with a 5 point margin.

I was personally for the idea of shifting the 2-point conversion to the one-yard line that would have encouraged a play that is less automatic. Nonetheless, teams have accepted it from the two-yard line as a tool to score beyond 4th quarter math.

Now teams are formulating strategies on how to block the scoring of extra points in a bid to maximize on the shift to make live play.

In a properly designed and executed play, it is quite legal for a football player to jump above the long-snapper, to land in the backfield and proceed to block a kick from a close range. Justin Simmons block and 2-point conversion that won a game, was the 3rd such return ever since the rule was completely changed. However, the very first one decided the results of a game.

This has resulted in the witty coaches of the NFL having some favorable ground in the conventional football strategy that is otherwise over exploited.

The action of jumping over long-snappers is not one each and every play because there is some level of penalty risk that a player exposes himself to if he happens to mistime the leap and unfortunately land on the long-snapper. This is not to say that some coaches have failed to establish a competitive loophole to this scenario.

Kevin Kelley who is the coach of Pulaski also known as Arkansas Academy who is renowned for reputable strategy innovations recently made a suggestion that teams may have to consider creating a fullback position within their kicking alignment. Such a position has the ability to deter the call altogether or simply stuff a leaping blocker.

At the time the rule was passed by the NFL, I was of the thought that it would be more of a nuisance than a form of entertainment. That said, I still do not relish watching extra points being missed by kickers. This has occurred over 107 times since the beginning of the preceding season. Whether it was its intention or not, it is fact that the rule has contributed to some extra layers to the game of football. That is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. After all, it was the source of both entertainment and drama at unimaginable levels in Sunday’s game. An occurrence that would be absent without it.

About Jack Jameson

Jack Jameson currently lives in New York, New York. He was raised in Northern California but lived in London, establishing his interest in soccer. Jack is an avid NBA fan, and has a growing interest in the MLS. He is very excited to be living in New York, where he is exposed to the forefront of New York sports. Jack supports the Nets, Yankees, Giants, Islanders and NYCFC, along with Chelsea FC and the University of North Carolina. Jack co-founded New York Sports Hub, and acts as the editor for the Brooklyn Nets and NYCFC sections. Follow him on Twitter @jackjameson23 or contact him on his email:

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