NFL owners voted earlier this week to alter the rules for extra points after touchdowns, moving the kick back to the 15-yard line to increase the difficulty for plays that had become almost “ceremonial.”
Former Montana Grizzly great Dan Carpenter is one of the 32 players in the league most affected by the ruling as kicker for the Buffalo Bills. And he, for one, is none too pleased.
The accepted proposal would push the kick’s line of scrimmage back 13 yards from the 2, though two-point conversions would still be attempted from the initial line. The move means defenses are allowed to return turnovers to the other end zone for two points like in college football.
That’s where Carpenter’s issues lie — not with the longer kicks.
“Being on field goal protection is probably the worst job in football. I know that and all my linemen know that,” said Carpenter during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday. “Well now they just went from a play that 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.”
Carpenter, a seven-year pro who spent his first five years in Miami before joining the Bills, has made 99.1 percent (217-219) of his professional career PATs. The Helena native still holds FCS career records for scoring (413 points) and made field goals (75) during his four years at Montana (2004-07).
The list of opponents of the NFL rule change is fairly long — especially among kickers like Justin Tuck of the Baltimore Ravens and Dan Bailey of the Dallas Cowboys — but others are in favor of the change. Josh Scobee of the Jacksonville Jaguars trumpeted the move that will put more emphasis on reliable kickers and Josh Brown of the New York Giants echoed the statement.
NFL kickers have converted better than 98 percent of their PAT tries dating back to 2000 while making close to 99 percent of attempts in the past five seasons.
According to data collected by ESPN, last year’s season featured 41 field goals from 33 yards, the yard mark from where PAT kicks will now be attempted. Kickers were still true on 39 of those — a 95-percent clip — while the field goal percentage from there in the last five seasons is a slightly lower 92.8 (154-166).