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NFL to experiment with narrower field goal posts in Pro Bowl

The NFL will reduce the distance between uprights on field goal posts for the upcoming Pro Bowl, perhaps in hopes of encouraging teams to try to convert on fourth downs more often.

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL wants to make life harder for kickers. After moving back the line of scrimmage for point after attempts during the preseason, the league will now try narrowing the distance between the uprights on field goal posts for the Pro Bowl, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer. The standard width between uprights has been 18.6 feet since 1920. For the upcoming Pro Bowl, that distance will be narrowed to 14 feet.

By reducing the distance between the posts by nearly 25 percent, the NFL may be hoping to encourage teams to try to convert on fourth downs more often. As Glazer points out, teams made 93 percent of field goals attempted within the 40-yard line, and are making 85 percent of their total attempts this season. Those numbers would presumably plummet if the uprights are moved closer together.

When the NFL experimented with longer point-after tries, it had a significant effect. Steady placekickers like Shayne Graham were among those who missed PATs, which are usually considered gimmes. It remains to be seen how narrower field goal posts will be received. Kickers will no doubt hate the change, but it could mean more exciting football for fans.