Philadelphia Eagles News

Could NFL Change Kicking Game?


GLENDALE, Ariz. – The NFL used Sunday's Pro Bowl as an experimentation of sorts, introducing video on the sidelines for replays and narrow goal posts for field goals and PATs. The experiment worked, as Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri missed a couple of 35-yard point afters.

The goal posts were narrowed from 18.6 feet wide to 14 feet wide as the league is looking for new ways to make the PAT a more exciting play. Vinatieri, who also missed a field goal, has made 156 straight PATs, dating back five seasons. Twenty-six of the 32 NFL teams in 2014 were perfect on PATs.

Now, maybe the league's Competition Committee will consider making the longer PAT and the narrow uprights a permanent fixture. It would change coaching strategy and put a lot of pressure on kickers who are now more successful on field goal attempts than at any time in NFL history.

"Definitely more difficult. You've got to hit it really true, right on line," Vinatieri said. "You can't be off at all. It makes your margin of error much shallower and much more difficult. I would like to have them leave it alone, but that's for my own selfish reasons."

Cody Parkey made both of his PATs and he knows that his job could become a whole lot more challenging if the NFL adopts either or both of the narrower uprights and the 35-yard PATs in the future.

"It's definitely a lot harder," he said. "Mentally, getting past those skinny uprights and scooting back 15 yards on PATs doesn't seem like a lot, but it is."

And if the rules change? How would he react?

"I wouldn't prefer it, honestly, but it is what it is. I'm going to roll with the punches with whatever they decide to do," he said. "I'm going to try to master it, but I would definitely not vote for it. Considering in the preseason they tried to do something and in the Pro Bowl they tried to do something, I think they're giving us a hint of what's to come."

MONEY MATTERS: The tempo of the game on Sunday night changed late as Team Irvin scored to take a 32-28 lead. Why? The players on the winning team won $55,000 and Team Carter members earned $28,000.

"Hey, I'm happy about it," long snapper Jon Dorenbos said. "I appreciate it. Winning was very much part of it on our sideline. Guys totally wanted to win the game."

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro is on-site in sunny Arizona to bring you behind-the-scenes access from the Pro Bowl ...

SELLOUT HELPS: The Pro Bowl played in Arizona, the site of Super Bowl 49, created a much different environment than the game a year ago. There were many more members of the media in for the game and the University of Phoenix was sold out and very, very lively.

"I think that helps a lot," said linebacker Connor Barwin. "It's hard to have this kind of game. Nobody wants to get hurt going into the offseason. I thought this worked out really well and I think that people really enjoyed it."

MATHIS HAS LARGE FOLLOWING: Evan Mathis lives nearby and owns a gym, Zone Athletic Performance in Scottsdale, and he had a Suite filled with his employees for the game.

"It was great to have that chance to thank my staff for supporting me and the work we do," he said. "I think they really enjoyed the experience, so I was glad to do it. The stadium was loud and the fans were into the game. It was a fun time for everybody." !

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