Making mountains out of molehills: The NFL and the extra point

Ask my wife, my daily routine is almost identical. And it’s that routine that includes a heavy dose of sports talk shows. Be it Mike and Mike, The Dan Patrick Show, or SVP and Russillo, or reading a solid hour of sports articles online throughout the day, I consider myself tuned in to the sports world. Which is why I am beyond annoyed with the NFL and their attempt to solve a solution. That’s right a solution.

The extra point in football is not dramatic. Yes it is automatic. You can align stat after stat that indicates it’s monotony. And I know we can all agree it’s not the extra point that keeps guys like Stephen Gostkowski and Mason Crosby employed. But the NFL is outside of its mind if it thinks the problem that needs immediate attention with football is the extra point.

The NFL’s competition committee is telling us that on a list that includes head-injuries, PED use, player conduct, and more recently locker room etiquette, the extra-point is a must fix? Give me a break. Roger Goodell and company are doing the best they can to sweep the Richie Incognito story under the rug. With the NFL Draft bumped back further than usual, they’ve got a larger gap of “downtime” they have to occupy. They don’t want further evaluation of the Ted Wells investigation going on in the sports world. So they’ve created this phantom problem to attract everyone’s attention. It worked. Hell, even I’m having to vent about it, and that’s giving it even more attention. But in all seriousness, and my little publicity conspiracy aside, let’s look at what makes the extra point totally fine in the eyes of a fan, and why that’s all that matters.

For fans watching the game at home or in the stadium, the extra point is the perfect time to grab another beer, a hot dog, go to the bathroom, stand up and stretch, lean over to your friend whose a Cowboys fan and talk trash, turn around and high-five a fellow Giants fan, breakdown the previous play, rant about why your defense didn’t blitz on third-and-short, brag about how deceivingly shifty Eli is, or if all else fails, check out the dancers who are still excessively celebrating his touchdown pass. You see, what the extra point lacks in intensity and drama, it makes up for in convenience. In a world where face-to-face communication is less and less the norm, it grants a golden opportunity to interact. The collective minute or so and extra point takes grants the perfect time for refreshment, relief, or both! In a league where games become three-and-a-half hour marathons thanks to Bud Light, Coors, and Chevy it’s nice to know that I can plan my breaks and beer runs around the extra point. Goodell and company seriously underestimate this time and what it means to the fan. And that’s the greatest crime of all!

Take away the extra point and you may be adding an exciting 45-yard-PAT or some elaborate system where you can elect to go for one on the two-yard-line or for two on the four-yard-line, and all of a sudden my breaks, which have been perfected over years and years of trial and error are thrown off. I’m left trying to understand the new format while the camera cuts to a lonely Jason Hansen whose total time on the field just got cut in half.  Jason Hansen’s poor misfortune aside, what about my breaks?

After all I, as many fans are, am a creature of habit. I expect the games to start at 1:15 and 4:30 every Sunday! I expect that when my team gets a first down, those chains will march down the field as the crowd “collabos” with a resonating “FIRST DOWN”, and I expect that after Jamaal Charles racks up his fourth touchdown, that Ryan Succop is trotting out to add a single to that TD. It’s this comfort that makes football home for more than just me. It’s also the automatic extra point that grants me peace of mind to part with my couch and TV for a quick trip to the fridge. And heaven forbid that one in a million time an extra-point is missed, I’ll hear a yell from the living room, race back to the couch, beverage in hand, and watch it again thanks to this brilliant invention called DVR.

It’s no wonder this talk of the extra-point changing is so annoying. The NFL is America. They’ve already won! Sorry David Stern, my bad, Adam Silver. Sorry Bud Selig. And though I love me some hockey and it pains me to say this, sorry Gary Bettman. So please Mr. Goodell, take a look at the problems that matter. Hit the drawing board on better dealing with head injuries, figure out whether or not you want to test for PEDs (’cause we know there’s a loop hole plenty of these guys are getting through), and figure out how to make your work environment a little more stable and professional. Don’t punish the game of football for your off-field troubles. No matter how boring the extra point might be, I love knowing I’ve got some time after a touchdown to get ready for the next six hours of my Sunday!