ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – When NFL owners approved the changes to the league’s extra-point rules this past week, the Denver Broncos got the framework they expected to be approved and now they'll have to go about the business of deciding how they will handle things.
For extra-point kicks, the ball will now be snapped from the 15-yard line, so it will be either a 32-yard or 33-yard kick, depending on where the kicker likes the ball placed. Two-point attempts will come from the 2-yard line and if there is some kind of turnover, the defense can now return the ball for a score.
The league was looking to add some additional pizzazz to what had become a ho-hum play as only eight extra-point attempts were missed league-wide last season. The Atlanta Falcons were the only team that missed more than one. Twenty-five teams didn’t miss any extra-point attempts in 2014, including the Broncos.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said he believed any change would encourage coaches to be more aggressive in going for two points and that “we’ll adjust to it." Kubiak has floated the idea of having a two-point "specialist" available on the roster. He also said, “I think it will change a great deal," and had promised to carve out practice time to both attempt and defend two-point attempts.
Of the two kickers on the roster at the moment who have appeared in a regular-season game – Connor Barth and Brandon McManus – Barth is 6-of-6 in career attempts from 32 or 33 yards while McManus is 0-of-1, having hit the right upright to miss against the Dolphins last season.
To see some perspective of what it could mean overall, Jason Elam, who retired as the Broncos' all-time leading scorer, was 19-of-21 in career attempts from 32 or 33 yards. And Matt Prater, whom the Broncos released following his four-game suspension last season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, is 13-of-14 in his career from 32 or 33 yards.
The league’s number-crunchers, as well as the competition committee, expects there to be about a 93 or 94 percent success rate on extra-point attempts next season.