Schatz’s numbers on PAT expected points are probably a little low, given the PFF research, but moving the snap back will definitely bring that figure below that of going for two. (Even with the elimination of the possibility for the rarely used fake.)


So, will coaches go for two more often now that it’s mathematically the wise move? Of course not! NFL coaches are ruled by fear. The fear of fucking up publicly. Much safer to just kick the PAT and probably make it—and if not, that’s on the kicker—than to take a little bit of visible risk for a slightly better chance at winning the game. Coaches are staid and boring and scared and you’d probably have to place the ball at the 40 before they’d choose to run a play from two yards out.

Ravens lineman/mathematician John Urschel makes the same point:

Just because the expected points of one endeavor is greater than the other, doesn’t mean it is what coaches are going to do.

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).


The rule change will be reviewed in the next offseason, but it’s hard to see any drawbacks—even if it won’t be the radical change some had hoped for.