Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Don’t Ditch the Kick Just Yet, or How to Improve the NFL PAT

The PAT is apparently automatic and boring, which has led Roger Goodell to suggest the league’s competition committee consider abolishing the PAT altogether. “You want to add excitement with every play,” Goodell recently told the NFL Network.

I don’t disagree with adding excitement, Roger. After all, no fan wants to watch an NFL player do something they feel they are capable of doing. However, pushing the two-point conversion by subtracting the PAT option is neither that innovative nor that creative of a way to solve this. It’s a lukewarm alternative from what we have now, as have been most of the suggestions I’ve heard on sports talk radio.

So how do we keep the tradition of the PAT and kickers while getting radical at the same time? I’ll tell you:

Adjustable goal posts.

I’m serious.

According to the NFL rules, “The goal posts must be 18 feet, 6 inches wide.” We’ve already established there’s nothing impressive about a chip-shot PAT through a space as wide as an industrial shipping container. What WOULD make it interesting is if that space was narrowed to, say, 6 feet, 2 inches – exactly one-third of the original goal post width.

Now we’re talking some serious kicker skill involved. A confined kick like this is no longer a gimme. In fact, I’d say the success rate would be closer to 60% than 100%. Now, Roger, we’re talking about a legitimate dilemma whether to attempt the PAT or go for two. And guess what – it’s now exciting either way.

We could even take this concept of adjustable goal posts one step further and apply it to field goals as well. For instance, FG attempts 25 yards and under retain the suggested PAT goal post width of 6’ 2”. For FG attempts 26-40 yards, double that to 12 ft. 4 in., and anything longer gets the max/current goal post width of 18’ 6”. By doing so, you’ve made the kicking game more exciting and given teams a LOT more to think about on 4th down in the enemy’s territory.

Give it some thought and your reaction in the comments – good or bad – and tell me WHY.


  1. I like narrowing the posts on the PAT, but the other idea (narrower the closer you are) won't happen because it'll penalize offenses for getting closer to the goal line. I could see coaches at the 25 yard line actually taking a 1.5-yard loss on purpose to get the wider goal posts.

    1. Mark, that is a great point on taking the loss or penalty. Glad you see the light on the PAT idea though.

  2. It’s a lukewarm alternative from what we have now, as have been most of the suggestions I’ve heard on sports talk radio.Kensington Greece


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