The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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January 23, 2014

Pick 3: Our thoughts on topics impacting the games we love

Pick 3 will be a new regular feature in The Register-Herald. Each time, different writers will take on the same three topics, giving their opinion on some of the major issues in sports. This week, sports editor Cam Huffman and sports writer J. Daniel Rollins will give their takes on three topics from three different sports — some national and others local.

1. The NFL is considering eliminating extra points from the game. Your thoughts?

CH: Kicking what amounts to a 20-yard field goal from the center of the field is about as difficult for professional kickers as playing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on the guitar for Willie Nelson. It’s just not much of a challenge.

So I can see the intrigue in replacing the kick with something more interesting.

But I’m never a fan of changing the basic rules of a game just to try something new. Trying something new is what led to the awful “work of art” in center field at Marlins Park in Miami.

Although the extra point is as automatic as bad cologne at a high school prom, the new proposal to award 7 points for a touchdown and then give a team a chance to convert what is now a 2-point conversion to gain an extra point completely changes the strategy of the game.

I like anything that makes coaches think and make difficult decisions. That’s what the 2-point conversion has done for the game. But going for that extra point every time — with no option to go for 2 or 3 — takes away the decision process.

My parents told me a long time ago, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Judging by the television ratings and the crowds filling stadiums, there’s nothing wrong with the NFL the way it is.

JDR: When I was in fourth grade, my grandpa Buster and I took a trip to Canton, Ohio, to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was in there that I saw the honors of legends like “Mean” Joe Green, Dick Butkus and Jim Brown. Guess what? That NFL doesn’t exist anymore.

The league has changed and evolved. Kickoffs are sailing out of the end zone, and every bit of contact is considered a penalty. Why not change the single most boring play in football — the extra point kick — and add some excitement back to the league?

I don’t think the kick should be eliminated completely, but it should be made more difficult. Here’s what I propose: Coaches are given an option of going for a 2-point conversion on the 5-yard line or an extra point kick from the 20-yard line.

During the 2013 season, kickers missed a grand total of five extra points. The risk for the reward is too low. But by moving the kick back, it makes the coach have to think if he would rather go for 2 or convert a longer, and much harder, extra point.

No one remembers who makes the extra point from the 2-yard line, because it’s thoughtless. But moving it back? That’s where guys like Adam Vinatieri became legends.

 

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