Two point conversions seem to be a hot topic of late. Big Ben Roethlisberger has been outspoken in his opinion of the two point play, and fellow quarterback Drew Brees has weighed in as well. Both are strongly in support.
Now Tampa Bay Head Coach Dirk Koetter is giving his two cents on two point conversions. During an interview with WDAE-AM in Tampa Bay Koetter admitted that going for two is the smart play mathematically. Summing it up nicely he said, “We’ve studied it, and mathematically, it does make sense.” So why is the Tampa Bay coach hesitant to commit to changing his offensive strategy?
Well according to the coach, he’s afraid of getting “dog cussed”. Now I am from the south, but dog cussed isn’t one that I’ve personally heard, though from context we can safely assume that’s not a good thing. “Say we go out there that first game, and we score three touchdowns and we don’t make any two pointers and we lose 21-18. Who’s going to get killed? Your’re going to be on [the radio] and you’re going to be dog cussin’ me the whole time.”
While a good dog cussin’ may keep Dirk Koetter up at night, I’m sure he’s far more worried about keeping his job. Koetter is right in the fact that at the end of the day it all comes down to points on the board. While going for two makes sense for some teams, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s not a viable offensive strategy for others. For teams to be successful in going for two, they are going to have to have a game plan. They will have to be confident in their play calling and they’ll have to have multiple endzone weapons. For teams who are weaker offensively it just doesn’t make sense to take the risk. Because make no mistake, it is a risk. Extra point kicks are far more successful in the long run.
The rule change last season has no doubt changed NFL game play (in my opinion for the better). No longer is the two point conversion a play of desperation and PATs aren’t the guaranteed points they use to be, not all teams are going to be as quick to the learning curve as the Pittsburgh Steelers.
So while Koetter may not be the bravest coach in the NFL, he may be one of the smarter ones.
“Put it in our hands. I want the ball. Any player would relish that opportunity.” -Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
Last season there was much ado about the new extra point rule changes. PATs, which were formerly placed on the two yard line, were moved to the 15 yard line. Many speculated about the impact this key rule change would have on the NFL. Well the stats are in.
- In 2015 there were only five teams to not attempt a two point conversion as opposed to eight in 2014.
- Two Point Conversion attempts increased by 65% (!)
- PAT success rates dropped by 5.1%
Obviously the change had quite the impact. The Pittsburgh Steelers in particular saw great success in 2015 when going for two. They attempted 11 two point conversions (more than double any team attempts in 2014) and were successful 72.7% of the time, or eight scores for those out there counting. Had Big Ben stayed healthy the number would have very likely been higher. So it’s no surprise that reports coming from The Steelers camp suggest that there will be more of the same from The Pittsburgh offense in 2016. In fact, Roethlisberger wants to go for two every time.
Other quarterbacks are weighing in on the two point question. Drew Brees went on the record on the Dan Patrick Show saying that he is “all for” going for two every time.
And although teams considering the change in offensive strategy may seem like pioneers, the math is sound. If the PAT percentage remains the same from last season, teams would only have to convert 47.1% of attempts to make up the difference. (The 2015 conversion average was 47.9%) If I was a betting woman (and I am) I’d place my money on the number of two point conversion attempts continuing to increase in 2016.
Two point conversions are very likely to be more of a staple in offensive strategy next season. This obviously means more opportunities for fantasy points. The beneficiaries of this are strong mobile quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, and Cam Newton and pass catching running backs such as Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, Mark Ingram, and Matt Forte. The obvious losers are (as usual) the kickers.
Read what I had to say last season about the rule change on YourFantasyFootballCoach.com
Kickers and the Extra Point