Justin Tucker Reacts To Extra Point Rule Change


The most nerve-wracking kick of Justin Tucker's career, he says, was an extra point.

It was the extra point after Jacoby Jones' famous 70-yard "Mile High Miracle," which made the score 35-34 with 31 seconds left. The box score shows that Tucker made a 47-yard game-winning field goal in double overtime, but doesn't show Tucker also tied the game at the end of regulation.

"What if I slipped and doinked it off the upright?" the Ravens kicker said. "Then we don't go and win the Super Bowl. It's as simple as that." 

Tucker's point is trying to illustrate that many extra points are already full of drama for an NFL kicker, even if they are hardly noticed by fans.

At the behest of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and after three proposals emerged, NFL owners sided with the fans, voting in a new and long-discussed change to spice up the extra point at Tuesday's Spring League Meetings in San Francisco.

The new rule moves the extra point back from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line, turning what used to be an 18-yard extra point into a more difficult 33-yard attempt.

As an extension of the new rules, the defensive team can now return a failed PAT or two-point conversion try to the opposite end zone for two points. Two-point conversions will still be attempted from the 2-yard line.

The league's argument is that the extra point had become boring. It was made 99.5 percent of the time over the last four seasons, practically becoming automatic. While the stats are pretty glaring, that doesn't mean NFL kickers like Tucker necessarily like the change.

"I think the idea is to add excitement to every single play, but really what it does is make every kicker's job a little bit harder," said Tucker, who already has a tough job.

"We play in the AFC North and we play almost every single game outside. This is a tough division to play football in in general. It takes maybe a little bit more mental toughness than playing in a dome 10 games a year."

However, judging by the past, the changes shouldn't affect Tucker much or at all. They could actually be an advantage for the Ravens since they have the 2013 Pro Bowler on their side.

Tucker has never missed a kick from within 37 yards during his three-year career. He's also never missed an extra point. He's made 110 of 110 in the NFL, and never missed one in college either.

So while Tucker doesn't like the added difficulty, he's up to the challenge.

"The guys that do well with it, it increases their value," Tucker said. "Guys that are good kickers will find a way to adjust and get the job done. And that's what I plan on doing."

The way Tucker approaches extra points in games will change. He said he may take a few more practice swings before going out for an extra point, and he'll go through his usual mental field-goal routine.

"For me, it just means I get more field goals in games," he said. "The only difference is it's a 33-yard field goal worth one point. That's how I'm going to look at it."

Tucker will immediately start all of his practice PATs from 33 yards. He has already previously practiced by making conditions more difficult for himself, including using narrower field-goal posts.

"We're going to prepare ourselves as best as possible to face any challenge," Tucker said. "I can tell you I'm going to do everything I can do."

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