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Early impact of the increased distance of extra point attempts in the NFL

The NFL is one of the toughest games in sports and requires a lot of blood, sweat, and risk of significant injuries to earn every inch and point... except when it came to extra points.

For the last 10 NFL seasons (2005-14), a total of 11,941 extra points were attempted with 11,839, or 99.1%, being made successfully. Over this time period, that is an average of just 10 missed or blocked extra point attempts each year. Automatic.

In an effort to bring back some variability and challenge to the play, the NFL Owners and the Competition Committee agreed to change the rule governing extra points after touchdowns where the spot of the ball is placed at the 15-yard line, which effectively makes for a 33-yard extra point attempt.

We are now at Week 2 of the 2015 NFL season and we are already starting to see some impact of the extra distance to the extra point attempts. In just this short sample, we have already seen 7 missed attempts and 2 blocked attempts on a total of 155 attempts, which puts the success rate at 94.2% - this is by far the lowest rate seen in the last 26 seasons.

Over the last five NFL seasons, there have been an average of 4.80 extra point attempts per game. In the first two weeks of the NFL season there hasn't been any significant change in the average, which at this point stands at 4.84 attempts per game. If this trend continues along with the current drop in extra point efficiency, we could see around 71 missed extra point attempts over the course of the season.

While this is a meaningful drop in the rate of success in extra point attempts, at 94.2%, it is still pretty much a guaranteed point. We will keep a close eye on the stat over the season. 

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