NFL15: Tinker Bell Alert at Owner’s Meet

23 May

They’re back at it.

The tweakers, or as I’ve begun to call them, the tinker bells.


Those in the NFL’s upper echelon, probably under 30, who seem never satisfied with their wildly successful enterprise and must tinker or fix something that most often seems to work just fine. Change for change’s sake.

The Tinker Bell reference has nada to do with the Disney computer animated fairy, but rather, the J.M. Barrie character in the 1904 play titled, Peter Pan, who “mended pots and kettles…of the fairy folk (Wikipedia).” Just wanted to be clear.

Case in point: At the 2015 NFL owner’s meeting being held in San Francisco this week, the Competition Committee voted upon and discussed a number of topics, among them the placement of the PAT attempt (point after TD), also known as the extra-point (XP).

Overwhelmingly, members voted to change the point of placement from the 2-yd line, a spot it’s been for about 100 (?) years, and move it back to the 15, with Oakland and DC voting, nay. In addition, if defenders recover the ball on a block or fumble, it can be returned to the kicking team’s end zone for 2-points. Yippee!


And word is, more changes could be in the offing.

One famous sportswriter has called the extra-point attempt the “most boring” play in all of tumultuous merriment (I was a fan of sportswriter Heywood Hale Broun). He actually wrote “sport (“Fixing the Most Boring“ / 5.19 / P.King / SI).”

Myself, I’d argue the most excruciatingly “boring” part of any NFL game telecast are the scads of TV time-outs that water-down the action we attempt to drink in and digest with some semblance of continuity.

Every NFL fan knows as much and appreciates that the “PAT” has historically added a finer point of skill-test, diversity, as it were, to the game.

And though proponents of the change would probably say, ‘We didn’t ditch it, we made it more challenging so it can work as it may’ve been originally intended, as a possible point of distinguishment to prevent tie scores.‘ Fair enough.


But apart from the fact that nobody, not so’s you’d notice, was complaining, this constant tinkerment with kicking aspects of the game of gridiron appears headed to what a small sect of ants-in-their-pants types seem more set on and that is elimination in its entirety of the foot-game from football, an aspect that’s pre-dated the forward pass, put at 1906 by some, 1876 by others (Camp & Thompson).

Buffalo Bills’ 29-year old place-kicker Dan Carpenter, who’s entering his 8th year as an NFL assailer of pigskins (spheroids today made of cowhide) and who made the 2009 Pro Bowl, is not all too happy with the XPA rule changes.

Dan wonders why a change that is likely (not “more probable than not”) to increase the rate of harder “collisions” with the 2-point gain gotten in a return of blocked kick, when the League and union have taken steps to reduce chances of such violent contacts?


And for the record, Carpenter has missed but a mere two XPAs in his NFL career (217 / 219). Highly challenging they are not.

Change can be good, for many reasons. Maybe best when it leads to the eliminations of unnecessary risks to player health, unsportsmanlike conduct or enhances a valuable competitive spirit of the sport.

But when agents-for-change ($) seek to validate their jobs by fixing things that work, including logos & uniforms which remain pleasing to the mass of fandom (See; Nike), in utter indifference to the Big Boring (tons o’ TV time-outs), changes that can sometimes go haywire (See; NCAA OT), it’s time fans sent the NFL a message: Stop tinkering with our game, tinker bells. We’re happy. If the faux fans are not, they can take up biking, watching HSN, solving math puzzles or tune into Disney’s ESPNU. It’s 24/7. Knock yourselves out, with loads of fun.


Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credits: B.Cundiff, wc.cca, 8.2.14, E.D.Drost, CLE-NFL; M.Crosby, 10.7.07, wc.cca, P.Cutler, GB-NFL; J.Reed, wc, 9.29.08, Andy, PIT-NFL; J.Brieske, Michigan, wc, 1947; R.Goodell, wc, 8.30.12, SSG, T.Wade, USMA; Tinker.Bell, WonderCon, wc, 7731, Mooshuu, 4.19.14; NFL-symbol, Wikiproject.
Posted: 5.22.15 @ 11:26pm; edit 5.23 @ 1:07am EST


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