Important figures from three of the best offenses in football have given support to a change in strategy when it comes to PATs and two point conversions.
On Tuesday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that he wants the team to go for two after every touchdown and that he and head coach Mike Tomlin have discussed the possibility. Today, Saints quarterback Drew Brees said that he also supports going for two points every time, saying he thinks they could convert over 50 percent of the time. Also today, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said that he agreed with those sentiments and that he would have “zero issue” going for two each time with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback - though he acknowledged there are other aspects to consider too.
It’s a discussion point that has gone on for a while but that intensified last offseason when the league pushed back the PAT to make it a 33-yard kick. The thinking goes like this: if an offense can make it in the end zone from two yards out more than half the time, then it’s worth it to go for two every time. I would guess that most offenses would indeed be able to do so, including the Colts with Andrew Luck at quarterback. It would be a way to add more points, but there are also situations that must be thought through. For example, coaches would likely point to the possibility of a game being decided by too many failed two point conversions - in other words, there would be some games in which a team converts most of the time and other games in which a team fails most of the time. That uncertainty could be something that leads to hesitancy from some coaches in trying it.
But is this something the Colts consider doing? Last year, head coach Chuck Pagano said that he anticipated going for two more with the PAT changes, though that didn’t wind up happening. That could very well be attributed to Andrew Luck’s injuries, however, so we’ll have to see what the Colts decide to do moving forward. In recent years, they have been right around 50% in two point conversions. They made one of two tries last year, and over the past four years they are 6 for 13 (46.2%). Since 1998, the Colts have converted 26 of 53 attempts (49.1%).
I think we could see the Colts convert at least half of their tries in 2016 if they committed to going for two every time with Andrew Luck, but it won’t happen. When the discussion arose last year because of the longer extra points, Pagano pointed out that with Adam Vinatieri it doesn’t really matter. While some kickers struggled more than others with the longer PAT, Adam Vinatieri still hit 32 of 35 attempts - much lower than his career PAT percentage, but still good. As long as the Colts have a guy like Vinatieri who can get a point almost every attempt, they likely won’t be going for two every time. It likely will take a team with a kicker who is anything but reliable from 33-yards out to start going for two more, and that won't be the Colts as long as Vinatieri is the kicker.