Vikings' Walsh not against pushing back the PAT


The NFL is continuing to weigh what to do about extra points. Vikings kicker Blair Walsh said Tuesday the extra point is a vital part of the game and outlined his own proposal to improve it.

Back in January, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was exploring the possibility of someday eliminating extra points.

The play has become nearly automatic. According to CBS Sports, NFL kickers hit 1,262 out of 1,267 extra points in 2013, better than 99 percent of the time. It is even more impressive when you consider four of the five missed kicks last year were blocked. The only kicker who flat-out missed an extra point in 2013 was Vikings kicker Blair Walsh.

CBS reports one idea being examined by the NFL's competition committee is pushing the extra point back and making it a longer kick. While there is no consensus yet on what that might mean it is an idea that Walsh supports.

In a column for FOX Walsh writes the PAT is a vital part of the game.

My name is Blair Walsh, and I'm the kicker for the Minnesota Vikings.

Recently there has been a lot of talk about changing the point after touchdown, or more commonly phrased "PAT." I understand Mr. Goodell's desire to improve the game by changing the PAT; however, eliminating the "kicking" aspect of the PAT would change the game in a negative manner and make kickers' jobs less relevant, which, obviously, I am vehemently against.

I think the initially mentioned proposal of changing the PAT to a pass/run option for different variations of points would be a mistake. It would change the positive/long-standing scoring traditions of the game and would result in odd scores to games.

However, I am not against moving the PAT back and making the kick longer. I think that instead of the 42-yard attempt that is being talked about, the PAT should be a 38-yard attempt. Kickers, for the most part, are accurate inside of 40; however, there is enough of a track record of misses from the 30- to 39-yard range to make a 38-yard PAT somewhat exciting. Add in late-season weather, wind conditions and less room for error due to the increased distance the ball has to stay straight, and I think you have a viable solution without dramatically changing the most popular sport in America.

A 20-yard extra point can be hit extremely poorly and still be kicked through the uprights. On the contrary, a 38-yard PAT would have to be hit solidly for it to go through and would require much more accuracy from the place kicker. In turn, this makes the PAT more exciting, while keeping myself and the 31 other kickers involved in the game. It would challenge us to adapt our mindset and physical approach to the PAT.

Although I am admittedly biased, I believe that kickers do play a unique yet integral role in the game. A team that does its research and develops or signs a strong, accurate and confident kicker will be rewarded in clutch situations. Not to mention, that team will have a distinct advantage on the field-position battle on kickoffs. Eliminating returns with high and deep kicks is without a doubt an asset to a team's defense."

Walsh is 79 of 80 in his career on PAT's and he did make the Pro Bowl for the NFC in 2012, during his rookie season in the NFL.

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