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NFL Approves Changes to the Extra Point Attempt

The NFL owners have approved moving the extra point attempt back to the 15-yard line, keeping the two-point conversion try at the two-yard line, and allowing defenses to return attempts for points.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL owners meetings are being held this week, and one of the most notable things that was on the docket to be discussed was the potential changes to the extra point.  Three such proposals were on the table, and today the owners voted to approve the proposal submitted by the competition committee.

The changes will push the extra point attempt back to the 15-yard line, making them a 32 or 33-yard try.  The two-point conversion will stay at the two-yard line, and these changes could prompt teams to go for the two points more often, since a 33-yard field goal is much less certain (though still easily makable for NFL kickers).  Also, defenses can now return failed conversion attempts (blocked field goal, interception, fumble, etc.) for points, something they previously were unable to do.

These changes seemed inevitable, as the extra point was ridiculously easy and the NFL wanted to do something about it.  Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (admittedly one of the top kickers in the game) hasn't missed an extra point try since 2009, having made 211 in a row (including playoffs) - a streak that is still active.  In addition, he has made 300 of his last 301 attempts, dating back to the middle of the 2007 season.  In his career, Vinatieri has made 776 of 786 extra point attempts, successfully converting 98.7% of the tries in his career.

Vinatieri can still hit from 33-yards out with ease, as can other kickers throughout the league, but it should become much less automatic than it already is.  With the change, it could prompt teams to go for the two-point conversion attempt more often, and with Andrew Luck at quarterback and a potent offensive attack, that might be something that the Colts opt to use a bit more in 2015.