The NFL wants to make football more entertaining. The NFL means well.
An eight-member competition committee of coaches and executives believes the extra point needs fixing. It's just like a 20-yard field goal. Last season, kickers made them 99.6 percent of the time.
“The extra point is almost automatic,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told NFL Network in January. “It's a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.”
The competition committee has come up with two potential fixes:
1. Get rid of the extra-point kick. Make touchdowns worth seven points instead of six. Teams would have the choice to go for an eighth point by running or passing the ball into the end zone from the 2. If the team fails to score the eighth point, it is penalized and gets only six for the touchdown. So, there is a risk for going for the extra point.
2. Move the line of scrimmage for the extra-point kick from the 2 back to the 25. That's a 43-yard kick. Hardly automatic. Kickers made 43-yarders about 85 percent of the time last season.
Either move would make football more exciting.
I don't like either move. I object.
Changing the extra point is an NBA-move. The NBA is the third-most-popular professional sports league in the country behind the NFL and Major League Baseball. The NBA constantly reinvents itself, hoping to create excitement and, one day, become as popular as the other two sports.
In 1947, the NBA banned the zone defense. In 2001, the NBA unbanned the zone defense.
In 1979, the NBA added the 3-point shot. Now, the NBA is considering adding a 4-point shot. It's also thinking about widening the court.
The NBA probably would eliminate dribbling if a focus group decided dribbling is boring. The NBA probably would sell out any element of basketball if doing so might increase the league's popularity.
The NFL already is the most popular sport in the country, has held that distinction for about 30 years. The NFL doesn't have to sell out its tradition for popularity like the NBA. The NFL should cultivate its tradition like MLB. Baseball honors its traditions, even the boring ones.