Want a More Exciting PAT? Bring Back The Dropkick!

Street Talk Want a More Exciting PAT? Bring Back The Dropkick!

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The idea of changing the extra point in the NFL is a great idea and should be executed immediately. It is the most boring play in football, as snappers, holders and kickers have so precisely perfected their timing and technique that it’s nearly impossible for the defense to prevent a successful conversion.

A great example of this was observed during the 2013 season. Kickers from 27 of the 32 NFL teams converted the play 100% of the time. The worst percentage in 2013 was 95.65% by the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars.

So how does the NFL make this more exciting?

The answer lies is in the NFL Rulebook, Rule 3, section 8.

“A kick by a kicker who drops the ball and kicks it as, or immediately after it touches the ground”

In other words, DROPKICK!

The dropkick lost favor in the early 40’s because of its unpredictability. If the ball wasn’t dropped and rebounded off the grass perfectly, the kick could go anywhere, making it highly unreliable. Grass fields were littered with divets, rocks and other imperfections all jeopardizing the kick’s success. As field goal kicking techniques improved, the drop kickers of the early NFL days faded away. However, with advancements in natural grass surfaces and the advent of synthetic turf, the issues stemming from the field’s surface are no longer a concern.

That said dropkicks remain challenging and therefore offer intrigue. Perhaps the proud NFL could borrow a page from their northern neighbors in the Canadian Football League.

There the dropkick as an extra point in the CFL is worth 2 points. If a team decides to use it to kick a field goal, the conversion awards the team 4 points. However, because of the difficulty of converting the kick, the play has not been used in the CFL since the 1980s.

Isn’t the NFL looking to put a little sizzle in the PAT?

Something that isn’t so automatic?

The answer is in the league’s history books just staring them in the face!

The dropkick will challenge kickers and/or punters to tap into their athleticism and help make the foot a bigger part of football!

Plus if they utilize the CFL’s rule of 4-point field goals for dropkicks it would further enhance the effectiveness of the technique and alter tactical strategies. Imagine a team being down by three with 5 seconds left. A field goal goes to OT, but a dropkick field goal wins it.

The drama and excitement of the game heightens!

Isn’t that what Roger Goodell is looking for?

Aren’t solutions like this what the NFL’s competition committee is challenged to find?

But here’s the kicker (pun intended), the NFL would have an additional marketing tool, something near and dear to The Commish’s heart.

Fast forward to opening day, The Dropkick Murphy’s are the featured performer while Doug Flutie, the last player to actually perform a drop kick in the NFL and first to do so since 1941 gives fans pointers on how to perform dropkicks like this (VIDEO).

Throwback jerseys of the greatest drop-kickers ever (Jim Thorpe, Wilber “Pete” Henry, Earl “Dutch” Clark or Paddy Driscoll) could be sold to NFL fans, while around the league during halftime Ford puts up a pickup for any random fan that can perform a successful dropkick.

Not only would the game be more interesting, but the NFL could have a financial boondoggle while honoring the rich history of the game.

So forget increasing the distance on the PAT.

Bring back the dropkick!

Kurt Backert contributed to this article

Should the NFL bring back the dropkick for FG's and PAT's?

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Bill Pisano

About Bill Pisano

Bill has been 24×7’s football analyst since 2003 contributing columns and commentary about fundamentals, strategy and techniques involved in playing and coaching the game.  Bill also is an in-season contributor to GAMETIME providing analysis and insight with a focus on the previous week’s Ravens game.  Bill is a former collegiate linebacker from Bucknell University where he was an All Patriot League Linebacker.  After his playing days ended, Bill coached defensive line and special teams at Division III Wesley College for three years then Linebackers for two years at Bucknell University.
Although he is no longer involved in the game as a player or coach, Bill’s passion for the game is reflective in his desire to educate the average fan.  He continues to teach and professes that an educated fan enjoys the game more if he/she has a deeper understanding of the demands the sport has on athletes and coaches.  A team has a responsibility to its fans and the fans have a responsibility to the team.  A more educated fan earns the right to demand more from his or her team.  With Bill’s guiding hand, 24×7 vows to do its best to help in that regard.

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