The National Football League (NFL) has approved a new rule moving the point after touchdown's (PAT) line of scrimmage from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line for the 2015 season.
The NFL has moved the extra point's line of scrimmage to the 15-yard line.
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In addition, the league will maintain the line of scrimmage for two-point conversions at the 2-yard line, per NFL.com's Kevin Patra. The new ruling also allows the opposing team to score two points on returns.
Should the defense return a failed point after touchdown (PAT) or two-point conversion for a touchdown, it will be rewarded two points. The old rule did not allow returns after a botched extra point, per NFL.com.
NFL now will have 33-yard extra points, inviting teams to try more two-point conversions.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 19, 2015
NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino told Patra on Wednesday teams could change their attempt decision in the event of a penalty. An example would be a particular team getting called for an offensive penalty while attempting a two-point conversion. In this instance, the team can try a PAT instead.
Should a 10-yard holding penalty be called during an attempted kick, the line of scrimmage will be moved back to the 25-yard line, per ESPN.
The league's owners voted 30-2 on the new ruling, per NFL.com.
Only the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders were against it, per USA TODAY's Lindsay H. Jones.
The owners also considered a similar proposal by the New England Patriots. The only difference was the defense won't be able to score on a return. On the other hand, the Philadelphia Eagles also proposed a 15-yard PAT but with the 1-yard line as the line of scrimmage for two-point conversions, per Patra.
The NFL.com update says the new rule changes will make it more challenging for kickers and more entertaining for the fans. Patra foresees the league making several more adjustments in the near future.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport also reported on Wednesday (via Patra) the owners disapproved the Washington Redskins' proposal to trim 90-man rosters to 53 in just one sitting prior to the start of a season.
For his part, Buffalo Bills kicker Dan Carpenter told SiriusXM Radio (via ESPN) on May 20 he feels the rule changes will result in more collisions during games, contradicting the league's emphasis on player safety:
"I feel bad for all my linemen as the changes will lead to only more collisions in games.
"Being on field goal protection is probably the worst job in football. I know that and my linemen know that. Well now they just went from a play there weren't too many collisions to a play now where not only is the defense coming to take that one point off, but also to add a chance to add two more to their score.
"For a sport that was trying to cut back on collisions, I think that you're probably just going to add a few more on those situations."
NFL kickers have converted "at least 98 percent" of their attempts since 2000, per ESPN. Since 2010, they have converted on a 99 percent rate.
With the high success rate of the old PATs, coaches have had little reason to go for two-point conversions as they went for this option only 4.9 percent of the time after a touchdown. The ESPN update says teams were 47.5 percent successful on their two-point conversion attempts in 2014.
Of the 41 field goals beyond 33 yards which were attempted last season, only two were missed. Kickers conveted on 92.8 percent of their attempts from the 33-yard line in the last five seasons, per ESPN.
Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri told ESPN on Wednesday he expects the high success rate to continue except during the latter weeks of the regular season when weather will be a factor:
"I think you'll see a difference late in the year, December, January, playoff games if you're playing in adverse conditions on a crummy field. Then that starts to play into it a little bit. Do you go for it or do you kick longer extra points? We'll see."
Jones says the rule change for PATs is only for the 2015 NFL season. However, Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith, a member of the competition comittee, told her he expects this rule to be applied on a long-term basis:
"This isn't an experiment. It's a rule change," he told USA TODAY. "We have given ourselves the ability to look at the statistics and make sure we are accomplishing the things we are trying to accomplish."
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