Math Says NFL Teams Should (Almost) Always Go for Two
ESPN has crunched the numbers, and they say that NFL teams should almost ALWAYS opt for a two-point attempt after scoring a touchdown, rather than just kicking the extra point.
They did a lot of complex math, but it basically boils down to this:
Two-point conversions are LESS successful than kicks, but they end up delivering more points on average because you get two points when it does work.
Since the NFL pushed back the extra point kick from the 2-yard line to the 15 in 2015, kickers have converted on 94% of their point-after attempts.
And since 2001, TWO-point attempts have been successful 47.7% of the time.
So with those conversion rates, after 100 extra-point kicks, you'd have scored 94 points. After 100 two-point attempts, you'd have scored 95.4 points.
That basically shows that two-point attempts will net you more points over time . . . although, just BARELY. It's just 1.4 more points per 100 attempts.
But they're saying teams should ALMOST always 'go for two,' because teams convert the two-point tries at different rates . . . and it's not always directly related to how good their offense is.
When you look at each team's rates, 22 would score MORE points or the SAME amount of points if they went for two every time. But 10 teams would be better off just kicking the extra point every time.
They include the Ravens, Patriots, and Broncos . . . and not coincidentally, they have very good kickers.
And the NFL might be catching on. From 2015 to 2017, two-point plays were attempted after 7.4% of touchdowns. This season, it's up to 10.2%.