One of the most automatic moments in all of sports is the extra point.
In the NFL this past season, kickers converted on 99.6% (1,256 of 1,261) of their extra points attempts. That's about as automatic as things get in professional (or amatuer) sports, and Bill Belichick shared his feeling on the subject with the media yesterday, and it hasn't changed since he first brought up the issue back in 2011.
"I personally would love to see the kicking game remain as a very integral part of the game so that the kickoffs are returned and so that extra points are not over 99 percent converted because that’s not what extra points were when they were initially put into the game back 80 years ago, whatever it was."
Many years ago, the player who scored the touchdown was the one who kicked the extra point. There was no such thing as kicking specialists. I imagine that Belichick would entertain that procedure making a comeback. I couldn't possibly imagine that the conversion rate would be anywhere close to even 90%. Plus, just think about how that would change an offensive coordinator's play call when down by six in today's game.
“I would be in favor of not seeing it be an over 99 percent conversion rate,” the New England head coach said. “It’s virtually automatic. That’s just not the way the extra point was put into the game. It was an extra point that you actually had to execute and it was executed by players who were not specialists, they were position players. It was a lot harder for them to do. The Gino Cappellettis of the world and so forth and they were very good. It’s not like it is now where it’s well over 99 percent. I don’t think that’s really a very exciting play because it’s so automatic.”
The automatic touchbacks during kickoffs were also targeted by Belichick yesterday.
"I don't know how much excitement there is for the fans in a touchback. It's one thing if it's a great kick, it's another thing when, let's just say for example, over half the kicks are out of the end zone, then I wouldn't really say it's a great kick. It's kind of almost a normal part of the game. I personally would love to see those plays be the impact plays that they've been."
"Where would last year's Super Bowl have been without the 108-yard kickoff return? The play that that added to the game was a spectacular play. I mean forget about who you're rooting for, but just as a fan of the game, it was a spectacular play in the game."
While many coaches will agree with Belichick's outlook, the likelihood of any of it changing with the NFL's new found focus on player safety is next to none, but it is a fun idea to entertain. Just for fun, check out Bleacher Report's take a few years ago with 8 alternatives to the automatic extra point.