NFL Changes PAT For 2015 Season
In an unsurprising turn of events, the NFL has approved, 30-2, a PAT rule change for the 2015 season: the only two teams to vote against it were the Oakland Raiders and Washington.
There have been talks to change the PAT over the last few offseasons and the owners have finally taken action, using 2015 as a testing ground of sorts before reviewing it again after the season.
As for the actual rule change, the point after kick will now be taken from the 15-yard line: still a chip shot for most kickers, who over the past five seasons have hit 92.8 percent of kicks from that distance, according to ESPN. On top of this, the two-point conversion will remain at the two and will not be closer like Chip Kelly’s proposal. And finally, the defense has the ability — on a block kicked, interception or fumble recovery — to return the ball for an additional two points.
Now, is this really that big of a difference? While pushing back the kick causes the percentage to go from 99 percent to 92.8 percent over the last five seasons, keeping the two-point conversion at the two-yard line does not create incentive for teams to try it. Personally, I would take the chip shot at the 15-yard line — around 32-yard kick — over the two-point conversion any day of the week.
Also, how many times are the defense really going to return the ball? It is only going to happen a handful of times. Now, when/if it does happen, it will be exciting. But from a game-to-game basis, the PAT will still likely remain as “exhilarating” as it previously was.
A sentiment that NFL free agent kicker Jay Feely shared.
What did the NFL really accomplish? It's still nearly automatic (90%vs 99%) but greater risk of injury to Oline https://t.co/PgEpxEE3CT
— Jay Feely (@jayfeely) May 19, 2015