With the NFL moving extra-point kicks back to the 15-yard line, plenty of people have been weighing in on the impact that the longer kick will have on the game. Will the success rate of extra-point kicks -- above 99 percent for the past few years -- drop? And will that lead teams to go for a 2-point conversion more often?
Well, no one in the NFL crunches numbers better than Ravens offensive guard and resident math genius John Urschel, and he's tackled the subject over at The Players Tribune, where Urschel is the "advanced stats columnist."
Urschel postulates that the probablity of a made extra-point kick will indeed drop -- from 98.1 percent when spotted at the 2 to about 92.8 percent at its new placement of the 15.
Ultimately, using formulas to derive E, where E is the expected points on a conversion, Urschel concludes that the two-point conversion is the better play:
E(two-point conversion) = 2x.479 + 0x(1-.479) = .958 points
E(extra point) = 1x.928 + 0x(1-.928) = .928 points
"It’s simple math, right? The expected points for two-point conversions is greater, so of course all 32 NFL teams are going to do away with extra points and go for two every time, right?" Urschel asks.
"Just because the expected points of one endeavor is greater than the other, doesn’t mean it is what coaches are going to do," Urschel writes.
"Why? Because, as you might have surmised at some point, NFL coaches are risk averse. Coaches like low variation, and a difference of .03 expected points per extra point is not nearly enough to deter them from the safer choice of going with a slightly longer kick (which has variance of .07) as opposed to the much riskier two-point conversion (which has variance .25).
There may be some who embrace the new system and take advantage of this opportunity, but my guess is most won’t."