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Ben Roethlisberger wants the Steelers to go for 2 more, and every other team should too

NFL offenses are too efficient to ignore than two-point conversions are the obvious way to go.

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is trying hard to make conversions after touchdowns more exciting, but some teams are still dragging their feet. After extra-point tries were moved from the 2-yard line to the 15, there were 94 two-point conversion attempts in 2015, up from 58 in the year before.

But five teams -- the Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles -- all went the entire regular season without a single attempt to go for two. Even with more incentive to try for eight points instead of seven, two-point conversions are still thought of as a ploy of desperation for teams attempting to come from behind, and that's why four teams with double-digit win totals never saw it necessary to keep the kicker on the sideline.

Math tells us they're wrong, though. And if anybody is going to lead the culture shift for more two-point conversion attempts, it might be Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

"I think we should go for it every time," Roethlisberger said. ""Why not? If we do it every day and if we're 50 percent ... there's your 14 points. Why not give it a shot?"

The Steelers led the NFL with 11 two-point conversion attempts in 2015, the most of any team, and were successful and NFL-record eight times. Even Pittsburgh elected to kick 34 extra points, though.

Extra points are automatic no more

Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Jason Myers struggled the most with the more difficult extra-point tries, missing seven of his 39 attempts. But even Myers was successful on 82.1 percent and the league average was 94.2 percent.

Successful tries on about 17 of every 18 extra point attempts is still a testament to how good NFL kickers are, but it's a big difference from the 99.2 percent success rate of 2014. Instead of a miss every 18 attempts, it was closer to one every 180 tries.

Extra-point attempts are automatic no more, but even the five teams that made it through the 2015 season without a missed try should consider going for two much more often. Because -- well, it's worth twice as many points.

With the league average for extra points at 94.2 percent, that means teams can expect to score an average of 9.42 points per 10 extra-point tries.

Going for two is the better choice

Across the NFL, the 94 two-point conversion attempts were successfully converted 45 times, or 47.9 percent of the time. That's 90 total points in 94 attempts or 9.57 points per 10 two-point conversion attempts.

Basically, if the averages of 94.2 percent of successful extra-point tries and 47.9 percent of two-point conversions held true, NFL teams would score 0.15 more points for every 10 touchdowns if they just went for two every time. That would've meant 18 more points altogether if none of the 1,217 extra point attempts in 2015 were attempted.

With the averages of 94.2 percent for extra points and 47.9 percent for two-point conversions, NFL teams can be expected to score 1,235 points if only extra points are attempted. But teams would score 1,256 if nothing but two-point conversions are tried.

Converting pass plays from the two is doable

There are plenty of times when scoring a single point is crucial and it's much safer to kick an extra point than go for two. If a team is ahead by two points and scores a touchdown, an extra point can extend the lead to nine points and put an opponent two scores behind.

It's also much different to ask the San Francisco 49ers or Los Angeles Rams to go for two every time with their lackluster offenses than the Steelers. While Pittsburgh was successful on 72.7 percent of its two-point tries, most teams won't be as efficient.

All of the Steelers' 11 two-point conversion attempts in 2015 were pass plays, which makes plenty of sense for a team that finished No. 3 in passing yards even after losing Roethlisberger for four games. But it shouldn't be an idea that only good offenses try.

There were 326 rushing attempts in goal-to-go situations from inside the two in 2015, and just 160 ended in touchdowns. On the 184 passing attempts from inside the two with goal to go, 89 were touchdowns.

Unless you have Cam Newton (who scored on seven of his eight rushing attempts inside the two), it just makes sense to pass and that's what the Steelers did to great effect.

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If teams are desperate to get a single point after a touchdown, and there are plenty of cases when that makes sense, then the safer approach is clearly an extra-point attempt. There's even a small increased risk of giving the defense two points with a turnover returned for a two-point conversion in the other direction. But it's pretty simple: NFL offenses are too good to keep ignoring the fact that they'll score more points by going for two.

Changing an established way of thinking isn't always easy, though. New Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter explained the criticism that someone can get for taking the risk of approaching things differently.

"The hard thing is, you know, it's like 48 percent," Koetter told Steve Duemig of 620 WDAE. "Say we go out there that first game, and we score three touchdowns and we don't make any two pointers and we lose 21-18. Who's going to get killed? You're going to be on 620 [radio] and you're going to be dog-cussin' me the whole time."

It takes a bit of bravery to go against conventional thought, but if an offense can get two yards more often than not, it doesn't matter how accurate the kicker is -- go with the averages.

The Steelers scored at least five more points by converting eight of 11 two-point conversion attempts, and it's time for the rest of the NFL to follow their lead.