PHOENIX – The point-after play in the NFL will change for the 2015 season.
The league just isn’t exactly sure how yet.
According to Rich McKay, who heads the league’s competition committee, club owners had a “very interesting and lively discussion with a lot of ideas” on how to alter the play on Wednesday, just before the NFL’s annual meeting adjourned.
No vote was taken, but one is expected to be held when NFL owners meet again in May. And a new play is expected to be put in place then.
By most accounts, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is mandating that a change be made to help put greater excitement into what is a routine and, in the opinion of the league’s marketing executives, too boring of a play. The decision-makers at league headquarters believe fans want to see more two-point attempts so that they will be less inclined to leave their television sets or stadium seats after a touchdown.
The issue is figuring out another way to attempt an extra point or go for a two-point conversion besides the one that has been in place for many years: lining up at the 2-yard line.
The two possibilities being discussed are moving the ball to the one-and-a-half yard line, to promote more two-point conversion tries, or back to the 15 to make the extra point kick more difficult, thus creating a more difficult extra-point kick and encouraging coaches to go for two.
“I think there’s clear sentiment that there’s a movement to want to change and change this year,” McKay said.
Goodell said that he spoke with Bills owner Terry Pegula about his feelings on Toronto as a future market for another NFL team, thus creating the possibility of it infringing on the Bills’ territory for fans and marketing.
“Terry doesn’t see it as an issue for him,” the commissioner said. “He’s not concerned about Toronto.”
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie acknowledged that it was difficult for him to see running back LeSean McCoy leave the team as part of the trade that sent him to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso. However, he also understands that the deal was a critical part of the vision of coach Chip Kelly.
“LeSean McCoy is a great running back – all-time franchise leader, great guy in every way,” Lurie told reporters here. “You’ve got to let a coach try to bring in the players that fit best what he’s all about to maximize what he’s trying to accomplish.”
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is going to have to search for a new trick play to replace the one he utilized to his advantage against the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs.
It will be illegal for an offensive player with an eligible receiver’s jersey number (1-49 and 80-89) to report as an ineligible player and line up outside the tackle box, which the NFL will continue to define the way it is currently defined so as to not have the Patriots or anyone else find an additional loophole by widening the alignment.
As a result, teams no longer will be allowed to use a running back as an ineligible receiver from the slot, as the Patriots did with Shane Vareen against the Ravens.
Meanwhile, the NFL also:
• Decided it is OK for linebackers to wear numbers in the 40s, because of a shortage of available numbers in the 50s.
• Chose not to mandate that both teams have at least one possession in overtime, meaning the outcome can still be decided if the team possessing the ball first scores a touchdown.
• Has no timetable for the outcome of the investigation into the Patriots’ “Deflategate” scandal, in which they were accused of illegally taking air out of footballs before the 2014 AFC Championship Game against the Colts.
• Has had, according to Goodell, a “healthy discussion” about playoff expansion, but made no decision about doing so.
• Is not focusing on having a team in Los Angeles by 2016, but if one were to move there next year, it would, Goodell said, play in a temporary stadium because there wouldn’t be enough time for a new one to be built by then.