Goodell: Moving PATs back achieved what we wanted


Kickers might not have enjoyed the extra point being moved back to the 15-yard line, but it accomplished the NFL's goal.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday on The Rich Eisen Show that the longer PAT changed the play from an afterthought to a vital conversion.

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"What we were looking for, Rich, was to make a play that quite frankly had been ceremonial," Goodell said. "Our accuracy rate was 99.6 percent. The kickers have gotten so extraordinarily good. What we wanted to was to put more risk into that play and more competition and focus. And we did that. Our success rate dropped to about 94 percent which is exactly where we thought it would be based on the analysis. I think it brought back a play that people had taken for granted and it now has an impact on the outcome of games. And it happened at a very high degree this year where we saw a lot of missed kicks. And I think that's good for the game. I think it's good to create excitement with every play. We don't want any play not to have the potential to have some impact on the outcome of the game."

In 2015, with the longer PAT, teams went 1,146 of 1,217 (94.2 percent). That marked the lowest conversion rate since 1982 (93.8 percent in strike-shortened season). The 71 missed PATs in the 2015 regular season were sixth-most in Super Bowl era (since 1966).

The changed led to a bump in two-point attempts. In 2014, teams were a combined 28 of 59 on two-point conversion tries (41.7 percent). In 2015, teams went 45 of 94 on two-point attempts (47.9).

The Pittsburgh Steelers were the most notable to embrace the two-point try. The Steelers set the single-season record for most successful two-point conversions in the regular season with eight and had more successful conversions than any other team had attempts (seven).

Most teams, like the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers, stuck with kicking the extra point.

When asked Monday at Super Bowl Opening Night -- by a first grader, no less -- Panthers coach Ron Rivera was asked why he didn't go for two more.

"You almost feel like at 95 percent it's a sure thing and you should take the one, and that's the way we approach it," he replied, per the Charlotte Observer.

Then came the follow up question. Rivera was asked if the Panthers could make 50 percent of their two-point tries wouldn't it be smarter than going for one point at a 95 percent rate? Riverboat Ron seemed stumped.

"Probably. I'm not a mathematician. As a football coach I'm limited in my math," Rivera quipped.

We'll see if teams calculate the math this offseason and a greater number try for two more often in 2016.