Sorry, Kickers: NFL Considering Narrowing Uprights To Curb Field Goal Success

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The NFL implemented a rather significant rule change last season, moving the line of scrimmage for extra point attempts from the 2-yard line back to the 15.

Now the league is considering another tweak that kickers surely would not like.

According to senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino, the NFL will conduct research this season to determine whether it should narrow the width of uprights in an effort to make field goals and extra points more difficult.

“The discussion has really revolved around narrowing the uprights,” Blandino told The Toronto Sun’s John Kryk over the weekend. “That would be one way to affect both the extra point and the field goal. (Success rates) have continued to climb over the years as our field-goal kickers and that whole process has become so specialized, from long snapper to holder to kicker.

“We’ll do some studies this year.”

One of those studies reportedly will involve placing computer chips inside kicking balls for preseason games. The league could opt to continue this experiment during regular-season Thursday night games, as well.

“These ‘instrumented’ balls — with accompanying technology — will allow the league’s competition committee to determine, among other things, precisely how far inside the uprights all successful field goals (as well as extra points) have been kicked,” Kryk wrote.

Kickers have been successful on 85 percent of field goal attempts over the last three seasons, per Kryk, the highest mark in league history. The upright width has been set at 18 feet, 6 inches since the 1920s, but that could change as early as next season, Blandino said.

“You never know,” Blandino told Kryk. “We’ll see what the data tells us. The committee will discuss it and then make a recommendation for 2017 if they feel that we need to go that route. But I wouldn’t know at this point, without seeing how it goes this year.”

Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images

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