Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions Make Airtight Case for Abolishing Kicking

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Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions Make Airtight Case for Abolishing Kicking
Elsa/Getty Images
Aren't these guys and their end zone exploits what you want to see?

For years, pundits have argued sporadically that field goals and extra points should be eliminated from National Football League contests.

In their 34-20 instant classic played in a blizzard at Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions made an impassioned case for that very idea—on the field, not in a column.

Conditions on the field were so treacherous for the place-kicking game that neither the Eagles nor the Lions attempted a field goal despite the following downs and distances:

  • 0-0 game, Detroit facing 4th-and-2 at the Eagles 12 early in the second quarter
  • 8-0 Lions, Philadelphia facing 4th-and-7 at the Lions 10 late in the second quarter
  • 14-0 Lions, Detroit facing 4th-and-4 at the Eagles 36 early in the third quarter
  • 22-20 Eagles, Philadelphia facing 4th-and-goal at the Lions one midway through the fourth quarter

In all of those game situationseven the 4th-and-goal—the expected call would be to trot the field-goal unit out and take the three points.

Remarkably, those eschewed attempts were not even the most interesting effect that the snowy and icy conditions had on the kicking game.

The two teams combined for eight touchdowns. Only once did the team who scored a touchdown try an extra point.

Leading 20-14 after the second return touchdown of the day for Jeremy Ross, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz called a timeout for the express purpose of clearing a kicking path for ex-Eagle David Akers to make an extra point.

The Eagles blocked the kick anyway, and the Lions never scored again.

Tellingly, Eagles coach Chip Kelly refused to try an extra point even after Nick Foles' one-yard sneak put the Eagles ahead 28-20 in the fourth quarter.

A simple extra point would have made it a two-score game. Except kicking even an extra point in those conditions was anything but simple.

Rich Schultz/Getty Images
You try kicking a ball in this. Better yet, don't.

So place-kicking had no place in the Eagles' 34-20 victory.

Be honest. Did you miss it?

Did you miss NFL coaches taking the easy way out time and again by ordering 32-yard field-goal attempts? Did you miss boring extra points? 

It is hard to imagine anyone not enjoying a game like this one, where the teams were challenged by the elements to do the very thing the game was invented to see accomplished: Put the ball in the end zone.

And after you put it in the end zone, you get a chance for two more points if you can do it again. Will you run it? Will you sneak it? Will you throw a fade, or run a play action that culminates in a toss to the tight end?

Doesn't all of this beat the daylights out of watching Alex Henery make 78.3% of his field goalsin a down year for him?

The NFL kickers union has nothing to fear. Field goals and extra points are not going anywhere any time soon.

For one glorious, snowy day in Philadelphia, though, it was certainly pretty to think so.

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