Back a few months ago, in my weekly Breakfast with the Bulls, I wrote about the potential change in the NFL point(s) after touchdown attempt. At the time, the rumor was that the two point attempt would move up to the one or the one and a half yard line while the one point, extra point attempt would move back to the 15 yard line.
Well, one out of two isn't bad, I suppose, as the NFL's competition committee announced on Tuesday that the extra point attempt would now be snapped from the 15 yard line; however, the two point conversion would still be snapped from the two yard line. The decision whether to go for two or kick the extra point still leans toward taking the solid A (kicking it), as opposed to going for the A (going for two), if you will.
The one aspect that wasn't mentioned at the time and could have huge late game ramifications is the opportunity the defense now has to return a blocked extra point or failed two point conversion for two points the other way.
THIS is game changing in my opinion. This rule has existed in college football for years and it can honestly change late game situations.
I give you October 12, 2002 and a matchup of two of the best FCS teams at the time - Furman v. Appalachian State.
Living in North Carolina at the time, I had the opportunity to watch the game. The winner of this one would have a leg up in the conference race.
Appalachian State had a five point lead late in the game when Furman rallied and moved the ball into ASU territory. With seven seconds left, Furman's QB Billy Napier threw a TD to put the Paladins up one. This is where watching at home, I started screaming at the television. Furman's head coach put up two fingers, indicating that he wanted to go for two.
The math SEEMINGLY told Coach Bobby Lamb to go for two to put Furman up three. The thought is that a field goal could beat you if only up two. But, here's the issue. With seven seconds left in the game, there's NO way, Appalachian State could've returned a kick, ran a play and then kicked a field goal to tie/win the game. Right? Say the kick return takes six to seven seconds and got ASU out to the 35 or 40. It can't kick the field goal from there so it has to run another play and there's only four or five seconds left to do just that.
In essence there comes a point, for me that's 15 seconds or under, where the game tying/winning field goal attempt is out of play.
BUT, the two point return going the other way is ALWAYS in play, as it now is for the NFL. And, as luck would have it, on the two point attempt, Furman's Napier threw an interception to ASU DE Josh Jeffries who immediately lateraled it to DB Derrick Black who returned it for two points to re-take the lead. Furthermore, because Furman had scored a TD, it had to kick the ball back off to Appalachian State. ASU recovered an onside kick and the miracle win was in the books.
So, what if Lamb decided to kick? Bad decision too. That could get blocked and returned as well, even if the chances for that are slimmer.
What's the answer? Take a knee. Sure, a team forfeits the opportunity to score a point, but scoring one or two doesn't really matter that late; what matters is not giving the defense a chance to take it the distance the other way for two points.
Again, this only happens in specific situations with :15 or less left in the game, but NFL games are consistently more competitive late in the game than most college games.
At Appalachian State, it's still called the Miracle on the Mountain and it should stand as a lesson to all NFL head coaches beginning this fall.
The Houston Texans roster in photos.