We've thought a lot about the NFL's new extra point rule. At first glance, we thought it was kind of a bad rule, an innovation that would make the extra point slightly less reliable, but still not exciting, with the end result being an occasional game decided by a frustrating missed extra point. (Like Texas last night.)
But the Steelers' first three touchdowns Sunday showed that there's a bit more gamesmanship than we previously thought at play.
1. After their first touchdown, the Steelers went for two ... and got it!
So far as we can tell, there's more or less no difference in expected points between a two-point conversion and extra point right now -- last year kickers made about 95 percent of field goals from the length of the new extra point, and teams made 47.5 percent of their two-point conversions, so ... they're worth pretty much the same thing.
But the Steelers opted to go for two rather than kick. Either they're very confident in their offense -- and why not, they're scoring a lot -- or they have little faith in Josh Scobee, who missed some kicks Week 1.
2. On the Steelers' second TD, the Niners went offsides on the extra point, and the Steelers went for two... and got it!
The offsides on the extra point led to one of two possibilities: The Steelers could've gone for a 28-yard extra point, which isn't significantly easier than a 33-yard extra point, or a 1-yard two-point conversion, which is much easier to convert than the 2-yard two-point conversion. So they went for two:
At this point, the Steelers were playing with house money -- the worst case scenario was that they'd have 14 points, which is how many teams typically have after two touchdowns.
3. The Steelers try a regular extra point... and doink it
Well, maybe that's why they don't have much faith in Scobee!
So yeah, the new rule does kinda make interesting things happen.
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