It's good!! Really good that all 32 NFL owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell decided to get past legalized professional football air pressure this week in their special meeting. Kick around with the big decision makers what really matters to you. Deciding the long-overdue fate of your PAT's (points after touchdown) this season and long thereafter. Plus what's really, really important...making you grind that much more worrying about the fate and destiny of whether your team WILL COVER late in the 4th quarter.
It was oh so simple to count your money and plan your next Sunday NFL football bets before. Let me put it this in a hypothetical way for you:
Say the Dallas Cowboys were -3.5 favorites vs. The New York Giants and leading 20-10 with about 30 seconds to go in the game last season. You were locked in at Bovada, Betonline, GT Bets or any other major online sportsbook with the Giants +3.5. The G-Men had the ball at the Cowboys 30 yard line and you were praying for just a meaningless last second touchdown and a "back-door cover", resulting in a likely 20-17 final score loss. Knowing that an extra point was certain by 99.3% chance, you cover by a half point. If you bet the Boys -3.5 you're looking for an Eli Manning interception, Giants fumble or change of possession knowing a Giants TD loses your bet.
Flash forward to NFL 2015, all bets are off (no pun intended), when the ball will now be moved from the 2 yard line to the 15 yard line on extra points, where statisticians have concluded kickers will have a lessened 90.1% probability of success. Adding to your anxiety, a blocked kick can provide the defense a chance to return the football back for two points. Replaying this same exact Cowboys/Giants situation again in your mind now will cause your stomach to tighten at least 31.8% more, whether you bet on either Dallas or New York.
The "integrity of the game" Yeah, right..
The "integrity of the game" is the NFL's favorite mantra maintaining what they do to enforce & protect their sacred rules and code by any means necessary. We've recently seen this power in action by punishing QB Tom Brady in "Deflategate" to the fullest extent of their own law. A somewhat shocking penalty making up for several 2014 public relations blunders involving child beating, abuse toward women and players using drugs causing the league a severe black eye.
Then subsequently like a miracle, within a day at the NFL meetings New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft withdrew his defiant registered legal appeal against the league "to not add rhetoric and for sake of integrity within the game." After all, what's worth arguing over a few pounds when you're looking to add on a few collective billion dollars?
But within the real integrity the NFL fears most is openly discussing the monolithic force that truly drives their sport....Gambling. (shhhhh). Though Brady's reputation may be damaged, Deflategate will be forgotten this season as the league hires impartial people to properly pump footballs for play. Much more important, by providing this new key PAT rule only helps create more excitement, intrigue and drama to what is already the USA's most popular and highest rated sporting & media event. Genius.
It will now be almost impossible for anyone to think their wager against the line is safe late in most games. Uh oh...I almost forgot about how this affects the Over/Under as well!! The best news might be for the kickers themselves. They might soon be paid more than #1 wide receivers. To protect the uhh..intergrity of the game and value their skill, teams would have to pay them really, really well. No more unspoken fear of investigating the potential of a corrupt, underpaid 99.1% average PAT kicker. Look for a whole new generation of superstar kickers joining the league in the future with motivation of superior salaries. Also no one ever heard of a kicker suffering from brain damage or neurological injuries later in life.
Going for Two? Too much Integrity!!
30 NFL teams voted for the new rule with only the Redskins and Raiders opting out for at present unknown reasons. A few teams including the Philadelphia Eagles lobbied the league instead to move the ball to the 1-yard line on PAT's as an option for teams going for a two point conversion. My thinking is this will never happen for a few logical and explained current NFL reasons. Plus one that will never be discussed outside owner meeting walls:
1. The tremendous pile-ups on many extra two point conversions would dramatically increase the potential for injury, concussion, etc., especially to key players including quarterbacks and running backs.
2. The focus and pressure on NFL officials would definitely increase their subjective decision to call a penalty on a key play affecting the game. Example: offensive holding on a running play eliminates a likely second chance. Or defensive holding gives a team a possible unwarranted second opportunity. It also slows down & lengthens the game. An already criticized area.
Putting logic aside, the real problem...gambling chaos, strategy upheaval and general havoc.
By far the highest percentage of NFL game lines in either Las Vegas or at all major offshore sportsbooks fall in the 3, 6 and 7 point number with half points added to the line in either direction. The past results involving field goals (3) and touchdowns with extra points (7) have contributed to final scores falling in a similar high percentage to these line numbers. Should the NFL institute an easier two point play, it would severely increase the potential for teams to consider trying a two-point conversion versus a PAT kick as a situational or skill edge. That changes everything and throws the game, strategy and MOST IMPORTANT...gambling structure and "integrity" out of whack.
So when you are sitting on a $22 billion dollar business, why ruin a great thing? When statistics prove you can move the football back to the 15 yard line after a touchdown, create even more interest and become maybe a $25 billion dollar empire or more. Come to think of it, why not move the ball back to the 25 yard line? Get back to you after the 2025 NFL meetings.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights from Glenn, click here.