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Tomlin's idea gets to the point

Posted Mar 24, 2014

Mike Tomlin said his suggestion regarding the future of the PAT is meant to preserve the play


VIEW PHOTOS: 2014 NFL Owners' Meetings


Mike Tomlin isn’t opposed to discussion or debate regarding the NFL’s post-touchdown protocol, as long as such exchanges – heated or otherwise – eventually get to the point.

The Steelers’ head coach even has come up with an alternative to the traditional point-after-touchdown procedure: Moving the line of scrimmage following a touchdown from the 2-yard line to the 1-yard line to entice teams to go for two points.

It’s one of several potential alterations being bandied about as the league ponders how to put some excitement back into a play that resulted in five misses on 1,267 attempted PATs in 2013.

“I think all of these proposals in regards to the extra point are being brought up in an effort to preserve the play,” Tomlin said this week at the NFL Owners’ Meetings in Orlando. “I don’t think any serious football people want to lose the play and award seven points for a score. So I think that some of these proposals are done in that vein, as alternatives to eliminating the play.

“So from that standpoint, I am open to anything to preserve the historic significance of the extra-point play, and that was just a suggestion I had that was a little bit different than some of the other things that I was reading.”

Another proposal that’s being considered would move the line of scrimmage for a PAT back to the 25-yard line, which would necessitate the need to convert what would in effect be a 43-yard field goal to collect the extra point. The ball would stay at the 2-yard line for teams opting to go for two.

“Taking the ball back is really going to be very different depending on game location,” Tomlin said. “That play is a different play in Pittsburgh than it is maybe in New Orleans or something like that.

“I think that’s what pushed me in terms of thinking about it from another perspective. But I am open to any of the discussions that potentially preserve the play if that is the direction we are moving.”

A 50-percent success rate on attempts for two points from the 1-yard line would result in the same amount of points being scored as the traditional, one-point-at-a-time procedure (assuming none are missed).

But Tomlin wondered aloud if NFL coaches would see it that way.

“I think initially once a two-pointer is missed, then I think it may change the game,” Tomlin said. “Somebody falls off pace in the strategy of it.

“I get the perspective of watching my boys play ‘Madden’ (video games). So, some of those things are born of that.”

Atlanta Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL Competition Committee, suspects any such changes would be eventual rather than imminent. Tomlin is also a member of the competition committee.

“These things traditionally take time,” McKay was quoted as saying in the Los Angeles Times. “It is good this discussion is being held with respect to the extra point. It is what we do.

“When we looked at the overtime rules and the discussion that went on, that was a number of years before that rule was really changed.”

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