PHOENIX -- The NFL is pondering moving the extra-point kick back to the 15-yard line.
The mere notion of this idea should have the Cleveland Browns holding their breath until they turn blue.
Because if ever a rule gives a team a competitive advantage, this change would do so. What team would you rather be? One that tries a 33-yard extra point in 12-degree weather with swirling December winds for a game-winning extra point that decides a playoff spot? Or one that tries the same kick in 70-degree weather in a dome with no wind?
Rich McKay, co-chair of the league’s competition committee, said support is growing for a changing the extra point, and a suggestion will be made at the league’s May meetings.
“There’s movement to make a change,” McKay said, “and make it this year.”
McKay said there seems to be an emphasis on making the kick “a football play” instead of the automatic kick it is now.
One option that will be discussed: A two-point try would place the ball at the 1 1/2 yard-line. A one-point kick would put the ball at the 15.
This puts different degrees of difficulty on the kick depending on weather and stadium. One could say that different levels already exist, but the farther the kick, the higher the margin of error.
Browns special teams coach Chris Tabor was very vocal last season when the league experimented with the extra point snapped from the 20 in preseason.
Tabor said then that it puts a team like the Browns at a disadvantage as the weather gets colder. After the preseason ended, Tabor said the Browns should strongly oppose the change. The only change since Tabor spoke is that the league is pondering moving the extra point to the 15.
The numbers show it. Since 2001, teams made 83.8 percent of kicks from 32 or 33 yards with the temperature below 30. In that same time, dome teams made 93.5 percent from that distance.
Since 2001, teams made 97 percent from extra-point distance (including extra points) in cold weather.
Moving the kick back takes it from near-certain to a kick with uncertainties. Maybe that's what the league wants, which is fine except in this case certain teams will feel the effects more than others.
The NFL for decades has operated under a certain set of rules with numerous records set in that time. Now, suddenly, the game will change drastically -- almost like baseball suddenly deciding a strikeout in the seventh inning should take four strikes instead of three.
Jimmy Haslam is the Browns' representative and vote in these matters and because a change affects teams differently, he should weigh in. Strongly.