By Ray Boyd
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The NFL used the 2015 Pro Bowl as a bit of an experimental ground. The league decided to test out narrower goal posts and longer extra point tries.
What better place to test that out than the Pro Bowl? After all, you do have some of the league’s best kickers there to try it out.
The current regulation NFL goal posts have a width of 18.6 feet. The experimental goal posts were only 14 feet wide. The extra point try was moved back to 35 yards instead of the typical 20.
Eagles’ rookie kicker Cody Parkey was on hand for the Pro Bowl and did not experience any issues. However, Parkey only attempted two extra point tries during the game. While it was encouraging that he made both, it was not a huge sample size.
Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri was the opposing kicker and he struggled with the new width and the distance on the extra point attempts.
Vinatieri finished the game 2/3 on field goal attempts missing from 38 yards. He also went just 2/4 on extra point attempts. In 2014, 26 of the NFL’s 32 teams were perfect on extra point attempts.
Vinatieri, 42, might be a special case considering that he’s been in the league for 19 years and is well accustomed to the way things have always been. Think about the number of kicks you have seen just sneak into the uprights. That difference of over four feet could be huge.
Vinatieri missed out on five potential points in the Pro Bowl. To put that into context, the Eagles had five games in 2014 that were decided by five or fewer points.
Now it will be up to the league’s Competition Committee to decide whether or not to adopt the narrower goal posts. Spread out over an entire season, the impact of closer uprights and longer extra points could greatly impact the outcome of games and the coaching strategy.
We could potentially see an increase of two point attempts as opposed to extra points if the percentages change too drastically.
Is this a necessary change or just something that will impact the game in a way we don’t really need? That is now in the hands of the league to decide.