Extra point misses up significantly after rule change

Randy Bullock jogged onto the field after the Texans' first touchdown of the season on Sunday with a simple task. Kick the extra point.

Well, it used to be simple. In the past, the point after touchdown was a foregone conclusion. That changed in March, when the NFL passed a rule that moved the spot of the PAT to the 15-yard line. A 17-yard kick is now 32 or 33 yards.

Bullock's kick sailed wide right. It was his first PAT miss in 67 career attempts.

"Honestly, I thought I hit it pretty well," Bullock said Monday, according to the Houston Chronicle. "I hit it pretty well. It just tailed off more than anything. That's the impact of the new rule. It's not a routine play."

Bullock wasn't alone. There were four extra points missed in Sunday's action, a sharp uptick compared to past seasons. According to the NFL Media Research Team, just 37 of 6,447 PATs were missed in the previous five seasons. That breaks down to an average of 7.4 misses per season.

Through Week 1, we're currently on pace to flirt with 70 missed PATs. There were eight all of last season.

Whether you're a fan of the change or not -- and if you're a professional place kicker I know where you stand -- the missed kicks show that the rule change has been effective. The league disliked that the PAT had become a rote exercise. Now it's not.

But has this made the game any better? Or did we just figure out another way to get kickers fired? The jury is out.

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