Collier: NFL change? Oh, what's the point?

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Like a military spouse sprinting across a tarmac to plant a big one on a returning service member, America is just about frantic to embrace the NFL this weekend.

Never mind that their real life, or at least their real media relationship, is probably better represented by that old country lyric, "How can I miss you if you won't go away?"

The league in 2013 is omnipresent, having long since cast into antiquity the notion of an "offseason." The corporate office on Park Avenue never sleeps on "growing the game," even if it grows in curious directions.

The road to the Super Bowl probably doesn't go through Pittsburgh this year, for example, but it definitely goes through some part of beautiful North Jersey, which on the first weekend in February will be the first unfavorable latitude to host an outdoor Super Bowl.

Snicker not; I doubt it could be worse than Dallas.

For me, the game can't return soon enough because I haven't seen a serious huddle since last winter.

I love huddles.

There's nothing better than an autumn afternoon of concurrent five-second committee meetings across the line of scrimmage from each other.

Players converge, listen to the quarterback or linebacker's instructions, then disperse. When an offense goes to the no-huddle, I feel cheated, frankly.

No huddle? That's it; I'm putting on "Swamp People."

A majority of fans might consider the huddles the least interesting part of an NFL game, but they are wrong because the basic, uneventful huddle is a virtual Wes Craven slasher film compared to the most useless part of any game, the extra-point attempt.

Let's just stop calling it the extra-point attempt anyway. It's the extra point. You're about as likely to be bitten by a one-eyed skunk as to see a missed extra point in the NFL, where the kick is good more than 99 percent of the time. Most teams haven't missed one in years.

In one of life's more annoying ironies, the extra point has become all but 100 percent pointless.

Steelers kicker Sean Suisham has been in town almost three years and hasn't missed one yet. He's 89 for 89 and 11 for 11 in the playoffs. In his career, he has lined up for 192 extra points and missed two, the most recent one nearly four years ago.

But every weekend, four, five, six times per game or more, a league that is supposedly desperate to cut down on head trauma bangs two units of massive humans together for a play that results in the same thing more than 99 percent of the time.

It's demented.

Good ideas abound when it comes to solutions.

My emailing friend Chris Krisinger suggests moving the spot of the snap back to approximate a 37-yard field goal.

"Why go through the motions?" Krisinger asks. "Make the extra point play more of a factor in the actual outcome of a game. Why not move the extra point back to a range that makes the kick more of a challenge?

"My suggestion is to make it about a 35- [to] 40-yard field goal. Moving the distance of that extra point kick to more of a challenge might even alter the strategy, to make it more of a decision on whether or not to go for a 2-point try. And, more misses through the game may call for more 2-point tries likely later in the game to catch up."

But there are other ideas I like just as well.

First, just eliminate it.

Touchdown? Here are seven points for ya. We'll be back after these messages.

Or, if you want to go for two, that's fine as well, but the failure leaves you with six, as ever.

Second, and I wish I could take credit for this inspiration, have the person who scored the touchdown kick the extra point.

Third, force the extra-point kick to be tried from the spot of the touchdown, parallel to the sideline. If the touchdown is made in the corner of the end zone, for example, the PAT try must be kicked from very near the sideline. This should have the head coach opting for a 2-point try.

Fourth, leave the scrimmage line at the 2, where it has been since 1929, but all kicks from there must be dropkicks. Try lifting one of those out of the Heinz Field soup.

It has been almost two years since Patriots coach Bill Belichick went on WEEI in Boston and said the extra point a play is not a play.

"Philosophically, plays that are non-plays shouldn't be in the game," he said. "It's not a play."

Well, you know what the means.

He has no opponent video of it.

genecollier

Gene Collier: gcollier@post-gazette.com.


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