Extra-point rule change is far out 

click to enlarge Dean Blandino, left, NFL vice president of officiating, speaks next to Rick Smith, Houston Texans general manager, at the NFL's spring meetings in San Francisco. - JEFF CHIU/AP
  • Jeff Chiu/AP
  • Dean Blandino, left, NFL vice president of officiating, speaks next to Rick Smith, Houston Texans general manager, at the NFL's spring meetings in San Francisco.

The New England Patriots didn't receive the support they had hoped for in the Deflategate scandal, but they won't leave the NFL spring meetings empty-handed.

As a lovely parting gift, the owners passed the extra-point rule that Patriots coach Bill Belichick had begun to lobby for four years ago. Next season, the line of scrimmage will move from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line for extra-point attempts, which effectively makes them 32- or 33-yard kicks. Two-point conversions will still be attempted from the 2-yard line, but the defense is credited with two points if it returns a turnover or blocked kick to the end zone.

The Raiders and the Washington Redskins were the only organizations to vote against the change, which required the approval of at least 24 of the 32 teams.

"Our hope is that what we've done is add skill to the play," said Houston Texans operations vice president Rick Smith, a member of the competition committee. "We will also see some increase in the number of attempts to go for two [points]. We just felt that the play was almost a ceremonial play, which is the way it has been languaged here recently. So we needed to do that."

Last summer, the competition committee conducted a preseason experiment in which the line of scrimmage was moved to the 15-yard line. The success rate dipped slightly to 94.3 percent with eight misses in 141 attempts, and the concept lost momentum. Belichick proposed a move to the 25-yard line, but that didn't receive much support, either.

It remains to be seen whether the rule change will result in a noticeable increase in two-point conversion attempts. Only 59 were attempted after 1,187 touchdowns in the 2014 regular season.

pladewski@sfexaminer.com

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