The National Football League is the most popular sports league in America, but it's also constantly evolving.
Some of that evolution is good and vital to the sport's long-term health.
However, there are also times where the NFL just can't seem to get out of its own way. Whether motivated by a misguided need to "improve" the game or plain, old-fashioned greed, the NFL occasionally feels the need to at least discuss fixing all sorts of things—whether they are broken or not.
The latest scourge that the NFL plans to rid the league of? The dreaded extra point.
The extra point is almost automatic. I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd (attempts). So it's a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.
There's one proposal in particular that I've heard about. It's automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball, so if you fail, you go back to six.
Well, that doesn't sound so bad. If you score a touchdown, you get...wait, what?
Wait. The NFL is thinking of eliminating the extra point? What is the benefit to that?— Nicky (@pancakes4life) January 23, 2014
I will grant that extra points rank somewhere between zero and "Is this thing plugged in?" on the excitement meter, but the new scenario would improve what exactly?
If you want to make the extra point harder, that's one thing:
If the extra point is "too automatic" why not just move it back to the 15 yard line? @nfl_atl— William Zeiders (@Wzeiders) January 20, 2014
But how are automatic extra points somehow more exciting? Sure, over 99 percent of extra points were good in 2013, but that's still less than 100 percent.
The other big news came on the expanded playoff front.
I'll freely admit that I am not a fan of expanding the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams. I will just as readily admit that this is a done deal, even if Goodell told the NFL Network (h/t Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk) that he doesn't expect it to happen right away.
“I would be surprised if it happens this year. I think if it happened it probably wouldn’t happen before 2015,” Goodell said.
There's just too much support from the owners—probably because there's money to be made.
Not only is there money to be made from ticket sales and concessions, but there could be millions more in TV money. Especially if the league expanded the playoffs to other days of the week.
"The big discussion would be the first weekend, the wild card weekend of the playoffs, how would you structure that? Three on Saturday, three on Sunday? We’re looking at every alternative, and I think that’s what the membership ultimately is going to have to decide,” Goodell said. “Would you play a game on Friday night, two on Saturday, two on Sunday and another on Monday?
You can just sense the dollar signs ping-ponging around in Goodell's head.
It's not hard to see why the idea would appeal to the NFL's money men. More football on more days equals more people watching more football on television.
Do you favor abolishing the extra point?
That equals more money for the league and its teams. And wouldn't you know it, the NFL just so happens to own its own television network. Boy, that comes in handy!
The flip side, of course, would be the short turnaround from Week 17 to the Wild Card Round.
Much like with the 18-game schedule—another idea still floating around out there—the league is talking out both sides of its collective mouth by touting player safety in the same breath as having teams go at it in the playoffs five days after their 16th game of the season.
Do you favor Friday/Monday playoff games?
This isn't to say that all the ideas floating around are bad. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports, the Competition Committee will review the rule that made NaVorro Bowman's fumble recovery in the Super Bowl not reviewable.
That's great. That rule is completely broken. It needs to be fixed.
The extra point isn't. Yes, it's boring, but in all my days of watching football, I have yet to meet one person who said, "You know, I loved the game, but those extra points ruined the entire experience."
A Monday night playoff game might work, provided that the winner didn't play until the following Sunday. Fridays, on the other hand? Leave those for the high school kids.
And stop trying to fix things that aren't broken to begin with.