During the preseason, a major change was implemented that had the potential to drastically change the offensive strategies for some NFL teams. I’m talking about changes made regarding how teams score after a touchdown.
Number of NFL games that come down to the kickers is depressing
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) October 2, 2015
While the ball placement during two point conversions stayed the same on the two yard line, there was a significant change on where extra point attempts would originate. Kicking plays for the 2015 season are spotted on the 15 yard line as opposed to around the two yard line.
Most analysts thought this change would have little to no effect on how teams approached their scoring strategies. After all, for so many years the extra point was pretty much a guarantee. Kickers were pretty accurate on field goals from less than 20 yards as well. Over 90% accurate as a matter of fact. Two point conversions on the other hand were less than 50% successful. During the 2014 season, nine teams who attempted at least one two point conversion were unsuccessful 100% of the time, and there were eight teams who didn’t attempt a single two point conversion.
It seems the analyst were incorrect in their theories. Already, we’re seeing some teams drastically change their after touchdown scoring strategies, and more and more kickers are failing to make their field goals and extra point kicks.
A prime example is Pittsburgh Steelers’ former kicker Josh Scobee. Scobee, who was an exceptional kicker for the Jacksonville Jaguars, just can’t seem to keep it between the goalposts for Pittsburgh. In the Week 4 Thursday Night Football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Scobee missed two key field goals that ended up costing the Steelers the game.
— NFL (@NFL) October 2, 2015
Now I know what you’re thinking; “What do those field goals have to do with anything? They’re not extra point attempts!” Well, it seems that missing those field goals has a direct relation to two point conversion attempts and a change in offensive strategy, at least for the Steelers. Scobee missed an extra point kick early in the season. Since then, Pittsburgh has attempted a two point conversion four times with a success rate of 75%. They are currently leading the NFL in attempts. But, it’s not all about the extra point.
During the game on Thursday, the Steelers made the costly decision of going for it on a short yardage-fourth down situation instead of trusting in their kicker. As a result, The Steelers failed to convert the down and lost by three in overtime. Scobee is currently 6 for 10 on field goals and 6 for 7 on extra point attempts. The Steelers cut Scobee on Oct. 3.
It’s not all about the Steelers though. In Week 1 alone, kickers went 71 for 75 in extra point attempts. Sure, it may not seem like a lot (it’s still an impressive 94% success rate) but it has set the tone for the rest of the season.
According to the NFL Media Research Team, just 37 of 6,447 PATs were missed in the previous five seasons. That breaks down to an average of 7.4 misses per season.
2014 was slightly above average with eight failed extra point endeavors.In the 2015 Fantasy Football season, there have already been 13. We’re barely into Week 4. Two point conversion attempts are up as well. In 2014 there were a total of 59 attempts with 28 successes. This season there have already been 25 attempts and 12 successes. So, teams are going for the two point conversion, and succeeding (slightly) more often. 2015 is on pace to see around 100 two point conversions. This signifies a drastic change in scoring strategy.
Whether you are “pro-two-point” or against ,the stats are there. The changes to ball placement on after touchdown scoring have had a dramatic impact on the NFL. And we’re just on the tip of the iceberg on how far-reaching these changes will be.
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Categories: 2015 Fantasy Football