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Justin Tucker: Kickers Being Phased Out

Posted Mar 5, 2014

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is not a fan of moving back extra-point attempts.

First it was moving kickoffs up. Then it was changing the overtime rules in part because kickers were deciding games too easily.

Now there’s news that the NFL Competition Committee has discussed experimenting this preseason with making extra points more difficult.

According to NFL Media’s Judy Batista, there have been preliminary talks about placing the ball at the 25-yard line rather than the 2-yard line for the extra-point kick. That would make it a 43-yard extra-point attempt.

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker wants to know when enough is enough.

“People are trying to phase kickers out of the game. That’s as blunt as I can be about it,” Tucker told BaltimoreRavens.com.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to change the game every couple of years to make it more exciting. It’s plenty exciting. If you want it to be more exciting, TV timeouts could be a little shorter and we could actually play some football.”

Kickers, like the Ravens’ Pro Bowler may have become their own worst enemy by being so good at what they do. Last season, kickers missed just five of 1,267 extra-point attempts, a conversion rate of 99.6 percent. They are making field goals at a record rate too.

"The extra point is almost automatic," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently told NFL Media’s Rich Eisen. "You want to add excitement with every play.

"There's one proposal in particular that I've heard about. It's automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball, so if you fail, you go back to six.”

Tucker said abolishing the extra point entirely is “stupid.”

“If somebody wants to be honest and say they’re trying to phase kickers out of the game, I’d appreciate that,” he added. “I’d start working out and I’d try to get a little faster and I’d work on my hands and become a slot receiver. I want to play the game.”

Tucker is actually a model of consistency that Goodell would point to in making his argument. Tucker has never missed an extra point during his college or pro career. He’s made 68-of-68 attempts for the Ravens.

Moving back the extra point would certainly make maintaining that streak more difficult. And it would add more suspense.

Tucker understands that, and in a way it excites him as a competitor.

“My first thought is that it’s a great game, so why do we need to change it?” Tucker said.

“My second thought is that if we do back it up, that can only benefit the guys that can make them. It just gives me more motivation to get better at what I do.”

As it stands now, the kicker is the center of attention – either the hero or the goat – when his team is driving in the final minutes and he runs onto the field for a game-tying or winning field goal.

If extra-point attempts are moved back, kickers would be in high-pressure situations even when their team is down by six points or seven points and driving.

“You add in that extra stress level, it will definitely separate the men from the boys,” Tucker said. “I think the guys that do well with it, they deserve to get paid.”

Please Note

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