Moving the goalposts … literally.

Did you watch the Pro Bowl yesterday?

Probably not … but if you did, you probably scratched your head and asked: “What’s up with the goalposts?”

Answer: The NFL is testing narrower goalposts (think, Arena football) and hilking extra points from the 15 yard line.


Why the change?

Bottom line : kickers have gotten too good and taken too much of the uncertainty out of field goals (and extra points).

Here are some interesting stats …


NFL kickers made 99.3 percent of extra points in 2014 … only eight extra points out of 1,230 attempts were missed during the 2014 regular season.

They made 83.9 percent of all field goals — including 77.4 percent from 40 to 49 yards (up from 62% in 1998) and 61 percent of field goals 50 yards or longer.

To put that in a historical perspective, today kickers make about 2 of 3 kicks from over 50 yards; 20 years ago (mid-1990s) that was the success rate from 40-49 yards; 20 years before that in the mid-1970s, kickers only made 2 of 3 kicks from 30 t0 39 yards.

As the NY Times put it “kicking proficiency is steadily improving, with the baseline of making roughly two of three kicks expanding 10 yards every two decades or so.”

Of the top 15 kickers in career field-goal percentage, 12 are active.

The most accurate kicker in league history is the Baltimore Ravens’ Justin Tucker (89.6 percent).


Why the improvement in kicking accuracy?

When I was a kid, the best kicker was Lou “The Toe” Groza – a beer-bellied tackle who kicked straight on the rough grass at the Cleveland Memorial Stadium.

Today, it’s well-conditioned soccer style kickers launching inflation-managed balls off of AstroTurf.

Only thing the NFL can do is move the goalposts, right?


P.S. Did you know that prior to 1974, NFL goalposts were located on the goal line? That made for some interesting plays, e.g. pass patterns that used the goalposts to “pick” defenders off of receivers and running plays in the deep red zone that used the goalposts as blockers.

Oh, those were the good old days …


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