It’s Up, It’s Up, It’s…. a Bore; Dump the Extra Point


The National Football League is considering abolishing the extra point. Since the kicks are virtually never missed, they have become at least a time waster and at worst a bore.

The National Football League is not in the business of boring its fans. At least not intentionally.


To make things more interesting, one proposal is to give seven points for the touchdown with the possibility of an eighth point either by running or passing the ball into the end zone. A failed attempt at “going for eight” would drop that value of the touchdown back to six.

This would introduce an element of risk into a play that is otherwise a no-brainer. Some coaches might oppose the idea because it offers an additional opportunity to look bad, but other coaches might see the proposal as an opportunity to outshine their peers and be paid more for doing so.

What about making it really exciting?

With all of the data available about the likelihood of scoring from different distances, why not offer a team different numbers of extra points based on runs or passes from different distances? One point from the 5-yard line, two points from the 10-yard line or three points from the 15-yard line at the scoring team’s option, but give the defending team the possibility of running a failed attempt back for its own touchdown. Set the point values and distances according to what the available data suggests.

There were a few plays in recent college football history that were more exciting than the Auburn run back of a failed Alabama field goal attempt with one second remaining to win the Iron Bowl 34-28.

Why not allow a scoring team the option of one, two or even three extra points for kicks from longer distances? Again the defending team should have the option of running a failed attempt back for its own touchdown.

With the exception of Yale graduates, few can think of a more exciting final moment of a sports event then Harvard’s 29-29 “win” over Yale in 1968. Trailing by 16 points, Harvard scored, ran for two, recovered an onside kick, scored again and ran for two with zero seconds remaining.

Almost half a century later, it was made into a movie.