PHOENIX - One of the NFL's dullest plays, the point-after-touchdown, is about to undergo a major renovation.
The league's owners spent nearly 40 minutes yesterday discussing ways to liven up the extra point before adjourning their 3-day meeting at the Arizona Biltmore Resort.
While they didn't vote on a change, they asked the competition committee to come up with something definitive for them to vote on at the league's May 18 spring meeting in San Francisco.
"It was a very interesting, lively discussion with a lot of ideas," said Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, the co-chair of the competition committee.
"Everyone is in support of making a change. In the next 30 days, you will see the competition committee, in conjunction with a lot of coaches, develop other alternatives and be ready to put something forward for potentially a vote in May."
McKay said suggestions for changes to the PAT "were all over the place." But he indicated there was a lot of support for giving teams the option of going for two points from the 1 1/2-yard line (the line of scrimmage for extra points currently is the 2-yard line) or kicking it from the 15.
McKay said all teams also are in favor of making the extra point a football play and allowing the defense to score off a blocked kick or turnover like in the college game.
Also discussed: eliminating the PAT completely, and narrowing the goal posts.
"It was a very good discussion," McKay said. "It's clear there's a sentiment to want to change it, and change it this year. The charge to us as the competition committee is to come back with a recommended proposal, do it in the next 30 days and give everybody a chance to look at it and vote on it in May."
Playoff change on hold
The owners decided to hold off on any playoff-expansion vote. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said there were several reasons for that.
He said that if the league had used a 14-team playoff format the last 2 years, five fewer teams actually would have been in the playoff hunt in the last 2 weeks of the season than with the current 12-team format.
"That's a little bit counterintuitive to the experience we had [in the past]," Goodell said. "Whenever we make a change like that, we want to look at the positives and negatives and what might be the unintended consequences. We want to make the regular season more important, more exciting and have more teams in the race. If we're not doing that, then we want to make sure we understand why and what else we can do to effect that."
Goodell said there also is a scheduling issue with the added playoff game. They had considered playing it on Monday, but that is when college plays its national championship game.
"We certainly don't want to conflict with that," Goodell said.
Hardy and Cowboys
Goodell said he didn't have any problem with the Cowboys signing defensive end Greg Hardy, even though the league still hasn't ruled on Hardy's likely domestic-violence suspension.
"Any club was free to sign him," he said. "They understood that we were reviewing his case for potential discipline. That continues. We're trying to get as many facts as we possibly can so that we can make the most informed decision we can."
Goodell said he anticipates the review of Hardy's case will conclude in the "near future."
Hardy currently is on the commissioner's exempt list.
Quarterback Jameis Winston, the likely No. 1 pick in the April 30 draft, recently traveled to New York and met with Goodell to talk to him about some of the off-the-field trouble he was involved in at Florida State, including being investigated for sexual assault.
"We were incredibly clear about our expectations of anyone who enters the NFL or is in the NFL," Goodell said. "What we expect of them as men and how they represent not only their franchise, but also the NFL. The conversation was very candid. This is a young man who understands his responsibility. And now it's up to him to [live] up to that."
Winston declined the league's invitation to attend the draft in Chicago next month. He prefers to spend it with his family.
Goodell said he had absolutely no problem with that.
"We respect that players, from time to time, have said they'd want to be with their families," he said. "We'd love to see the players there, but we also respect when they want to be with their families."
Eagles voted down
The Eagles had proposed a rule change that would prohibit teams from timing and testing players at their training facilities who had attended the Scouting Combine. The proposal was defeated.