This time of the year we always list, discuss and debate all of the new rules the NFL hierarchy implements with the onset of the new season. The one that got the most attention is that the extra point kicks will be attempted from the 15 yard line to make them a little more difficult. While there are always some that are more questionable and/or controversial than others, there is one rule alteration that just looks plain weird. And this is really only because NFL teams have never been awarded this point on this specific play.
We’re talking about the change to the safety rules on extra points and 2-point conversions. A safety is now possible for either team and will be worth 1 point. Rule 11-3-2-c states, “If the try results in what would ordinarily be a safety against either team, one point is awarded to the opponent.”
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In the past in the N.F.L., the only way to earn one point was to attempt an extra point after scoring a touchdown. But since you had to score the touchdown before attempting the extra point, it was impossible to score a single point. Also, if an extra point was blocked, the ball was declared dead if a defender got hold of it. Under the new rules, he can try to return it, possibly all the way for a touchdown, which would be worth 2 points.
Perhaps a defensive player recovers the ball in the field of play, and while returning it he retreats into the end zone and is pulled down there. That will be a 1-point safety for the kicking team.
This has happened, though rarely, in the college game, notably in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, when an Oregon extra point was blocked and a Kansas State player was tackled with the ball in the end zone. Oregon was awarded a point.
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It is also possible for the defending team on the extra point to get a 1-point safety. Under this scenario, an extra point is blocked. The ball caroms back 15 yards, and the kicking team gets it but immediately fumbles. The ball bounces farther down the field the wrong way. Another offensive player grabs the ball and drops it. More bounces and bumbling, and the ball eventually travels 85 yards into the far end zone. One final player on the kicking team grabs the ball and is brought down. The result will be a 1-point safety for the defending team.
If that team has not yet scored a point in the game, and it also fails to score a point the rest of the way, we will finally see our first 6-1 or 26-1 or 44-1 final score.
It will be certainly interesting if any one of the possible scenarios plays out to where we could see something like baseball-type final score. However, with the revved-up offenses that most NFL teams possess these days, that outcome is highly unlikely.
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