Rand: Extra points not always automatic

  • Updated: January 22, 2014 - 7:11 AM

In 2002, Doug Brien missed not one but two extra points against Buffalo. The Bills were able to force overtime and eventually won.

Photo: File photo by BRIAN PETERSON • bpeterson@startribune.com,

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After Tuesday’s very controversial Richard Sherman piece — thank you, readers, for all the feedback — it’s time to turn the volume up another level and use this space now to talk about something even hotter: extra points in the NFL.

Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league’s competition committee has a plan to get rid of them because they’re too predictable. The success rate over the past decade has been 99.1 percent, so why bother? One proposal being discussed would allow a team to automatically take seven points on a touchdown. If they wanted to try a run/pass conversion, they would gain one more point for a make but lose a point if the attempt failed.

This all makes sense, particularly with the context of how routine the kicks have become. That said, as someone who has watched countless Vikings games and remembers some key failed extra points, Goodell’s discussion of the subject led to a search of recent seasons to see just how many Purple games were altered by missed tries. The answer? At least a few. From 2002-13, the Vikings missed nine extra points (note: it’s unclear how many were flat-out misses and how many were blocked).

• The most infamous were in the first of those years, when Doug Brien missed two in one game against Buffalo, helping the Bills force overtime and claim a 45-39 victory. Later that year, Gary Anderson missed one against the Packers. It loomed large as the Vikings clung to a 22-20 lead late, though Green Bay scored a touchdown to take a 26-22 victory.

• The Vikings didn’t miss any from 2003-05, nor in 2008 or 2012. In every other season, they missed at least one. Five of those misses came in games that had margins of fewer than three points at the time, and the Vikings ended up losing two of them.

• In both 2006 (vs. Detroit) and 2007 (vs. Chicago), the Vikings had a failed extra point in the second half of a game that left them trailing by a single point. In both cases, they were fortunate enough to rally for a victory.

Long story short: Extra points are close to automatic. But if recent Vikings history teaches us anything, it’s that they can’t be taken for granted.

MICHAEL RAND

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