Interesting stuff here today from NFL.com, which reports that the league is considering experimenting with longer point-after-touchdown kicks in the pre-season.
Specifically, the kicks would come with the ball snapped at the 25-yard line, so meaning a 42-yard or so PAT.
As the story details, the league is looking into ways to try to put a little more suspense into the PAT with it having become essentially an automatic kick (there were no missed PAT’s in Seattle’s regular-season games this year with Steven Hausckha going 44-44 and opponents 17-17. Hauschka did miss two attempts in 2012, however, going 46-48).
Even that distance, though, wouldn’t have mattered much in Seattle games this year. Hauschka was 11-12 in the 40-49 range this year with the only miss coming on a block of a 48-yarder at Indianapolis. Seattle opponents were 7-7 from 40-49 yards.
The one game where it might really have mattered was the windy playoff game against the Saints at home — recall that New Orleans kicker Shayne Graham missed attempts of 45 and 48 yards in that contest with the wind playing a role in each.
Kickers surely wouldn’t like it, but since it might indeed change a game or two throughout the course of the season, it also might ultimately make the best kickers more valuable to their teams than they are now.
As the story notes, don’t expect this to happen in the regular season next year. What also likely won’t change is Hauschka being the Seahawks kicker. He is now a free agent, but it is expected that he will likely return.