Just hours after the New Orleans Saints cut placekicker Shayne Graham, the NFL has instituted a new rule change that directly affects the position he one occupied. Here is the tweet from the NFL's Vice President of Officiating:
The extra point rule for 2015 just changed. Snap for kick from the 15-yard line, 2-pt try stays at 2-yard line and defense can return.— Dean Blandino (@DeanBlandino) May 19, 2015
Now the ball will be snapped from the 15-yard line instead of the 2-yard line for extra point attempts, which should stand to make them more difficult. From the old distance, kickers had become nearly automatic in hitting PAT's. As stated in the tweet above, 2-point conversions will continue to be attempted from the 2-yard line as standard, but now defenses can advance a turnover on the attempt for 2-points of their own, as seen in the college game. Defenses can also advance a blocked PAT for 2 points as well.
Teams do have an opt-out available to the in the event of an offensive penalty, such as, if they attempted a 2-point conversion and were called for a penalty, they could then decide to go for the 1-point PAT instead of facing a 2-point conversion from a greater distance.
These are interesting adjustments that are clearly aimed at making the game more exciting and unpredictable. Now the Saints will need to hone in on finding just the right kicker to consistently make these longer extra point attempts. Who will it be? Well, that remains to be seen.