Dienhart: Should college football dump the PAT?

It was interesting to watch to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell talk about various issues recently on NFL Network. One idea he said the league is studying is dropping extra point kicks after touchdowns – just see the NFL Network video here. Would the college game ever consider dumping PATs? It may be worth considering and studying.

How good are pros at making PATs? In 2013, NFL kickers hit 1,256 of 1,261 extra points, a cool 99.6 percent accuracy rate. That’s as close to automatic as you can get. The only play duller during a game is when the quarterback takes a knee. No doubt, PATs have all the drama of an episode of “Scooby-Doo.”

Likewise, college kickers are pretty good at what they do, too. In the Big Ten last season, kickers hit 555-of-569 PATs, a 98 percent success rate. The most any team missed was three: Michigan State; Nebraska; Minnesota. Five teams—almost half the conference–were perfect.

2013 Big Ten PAT
1. Indiana 56-56 1.000
Michigan 49-49 1.000
Iowa 42-42 1.000
Illinois 40-40 1.000
Northwestern 35-35 1.000
6. Wisconsin 57-58 .983
7. Penn State 41-42 .976
8. Ohio State 80-82 .976
9. Purdue 21-22 .955
10. Nebraska 50-53 .943
11. Michigan State 48-51 .941
12. Minnesota 36-39 .923

Instead of kicking extra points, Goodell said on NFL Network that teams would get seven points for a touchdown. Teams then could go for an “extra point” by running a play from the 3-yard line, just like a two-point conversion.

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Unlike a two-point conversion, however, this new extra point would be one point. But, if the play failed, the seven points scored for the touchdown would be cut to six points.

I love the idea and would like to see the college game study it and consider. It would add some intrigue to the game and spruce up all extra point attempts.

Another idea some have proposed includes moving the PAT back. How about having it attempted from, say, 40 yards? Or, how about this loony tongue-in-cheek idea: Make the guy who scored the touchdown kick the extra point, just like our old backyard/recess football games. That could be hilarious, especially when linemen score. I’d watch that. I know, it won’t happen. But, it’s fun to think about!

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About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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1 Comment

Your Opinion?
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akble on 1/21/2014 @ 2:02pm EDT Said:

see little difference in the proposed 1 point run in reality. If kick is so automatic then decision is whether you want 8 points against the chance you end up with 6, same as with PAT. The only difference is the chance you miss a PAT which in college is not as automatic as before. If you want to make it more exciting move the scrimmage line on PATs closer thus making a 2 pt choice more enticing – or perhaps after three PATS in a game then you have to go for 2 like in OT