Kickers have been marginalized for most of their existence; that's the deal when you only play a handful of snaps, and wins and losses often rest on your ability to accurately kick a football from some distance. But marginalization would be a welcome respite from the looming alternative: extinction.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said previously that the league was exploring the possibility of eliminating extra points. Alternatively, a recent NFL.com report suggested that the extra point could be moved to the 25-yard line, making what was a 20-yard attempt into a 43-yarder.
Not surprisingly, this developments doesn't sit well with Colts kicker and likely future Hall of Famer Adam Vinatieri, who fears that teams will eschew extra-point attempts altogether and opt to go for two points after every touchdown.
"I don't understand the logic: Will it make the game safer for people by moving the extra point back to a 43-yarder? If anything, players are going to rush harder because they're thinking, 'That far of a field goal-type try, we have to go after blocking it more,' " Vinatieri told USAToday.com Tuesday. "If you want to talk about potential risk, more guys get injured on a field goal than extra point.
"It definitely will change the game. For the better? I'm not sure."
Kickers converted 99.6 percent of their extra-point attempts last season, which is one reason Goodell mentioned doing away with them -- there's no drama in the predictable.
"This just seems like a proposal by a couple of people trying to pound their chest a little saying, 'Let's change it up because kickers are too good,' " Vinatieri said. "They're trying to downgrade our value versus continuing to put an emphasis on kicking. They're trying to minimize the importance of kickers. I'm a traditionalist. If it's not broke, don't fix it."
We would leave things as they are and just narrow the goal posts, but Goodell didn't ask. Either way, the status quo is likely changing, a reality Cardinals kicker Jay Feely understands.
"You don't penalize a baseball closer for being great, you celebrate that. You should do the same thing with kickers," Feely said. "If you're going to change the extra-point rule, I'd rather see you change it and still have it as part of the game than eliminate it."