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Former Steelers kicker Reed doesn’t like new NFL PAT rule

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers kicker Jeff Reed kicks a 53-yard field goal against the Bengals on Monday Nov. 8, 2010 at Paul Brown Stadium.

First, the NFL essentially eliminated kickoffs by placing the ball at the 35-yard line to promote more touchbacks, and now they have moved extra points back to a place on the field where the two-point conversion becomes more of a viable option.

In the grand scheme of the game, it’s not really a big deal … unless you are a kicker, or a former kicker.

Jeff Reed, who kicked eight years for the Steelers, is the team’s second-leading all-time scorer. He believes there is something more to the NFL’s decision Tuesday to move the line of scrimmage for extra points back 13 yards to the 15-yard-line.

“I can say this right now because I am not playing anymore, but I think (commissioner) Roger Goodell is trying to get rid of kickers,” Reed said.

Goodell has hinted in the past that extra points eventually might be eliminated from the game because of the high success rate (99 percent last year). For now, the league has decided to make the play more difficult while adding a provision that permits a defensive two-point conversion off a blocked PAT or turnover on a two-point try.

The added defensive two-point possibility is only the second scoring change in the history of the NFL. The league added the two-point conversion in 1994.

“I really like the addition of having the defense get a chance to score on those possessions,” Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward said, “because if it’s a quick slant — and you saw where James (Harrison) took it in the Super Bowl — if that was after a touchdown, that doesn’t count.”

Reed, now a motivational speaker and a radio personality in his hometown of Charlotte, hasn’t kicked in the NFL for almost five seasons. Reed spent the final month of the 2010 season with the 49ers after the Steelers released him. He went to camp with the Seahawks the next season.

Reed, who just turned 36, thinks the league shouldn’t have messed with the distance of the extra point.

“Me as a kicker thinks that the extra point should be exactly where it is,” said Reed, who made 99.1 percent of his PATs in his career. “The point of an extra point is to tack on the extra point. It is not supposed to be that extra challenge where it is a 33-yard field goal, and you never know what the field conditions might be like.”

Reed suggests there might not be many more missed extra points, but the number definitely will increase.

“That 20-yard extra point that you kind of hit off your toe and they were good anyway, or you shank it and it still is good, those aren’t going to make it anymore regardless of the month or what the weather is like,” Reed said. “A 33-yard field goal might sometimes seem like 50 depending on what you are dealing with.”

The numbers suggest there won’t be much difference at all.

Last year, kickers made 32 of 33 field goals from exactly 33 yards and 97.3 percent from 18-33 yards. That was with the ball usually placed at the left or right hash mark to potentially make the kick more difficult.

Kickers converted on 99.3 percent of extra points last year.

“I don’t see the percentages going way down,” Reed said. “Every kicker this year will miss at least one extra point. That’s just human error. Hey, they get paid a lot of money, so this is just one more challenge.”

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib

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