Tommy Bowden proposes adding higher-risk PAT option to enhance the game

The Clemson Sports Blog

Clemson head football coach Tommy Bowden calls timeout four times before the referee responds during the third quarter of the Tigers' 30-17 win against the University of Maryland last Saturday.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson head football coach Tommy Bowden calls timeout four times before the referee responds during the third quarter of the Tigers' 30-17 win against the University of Maryland last Saturday.

Slow down the game?

Former Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden has what he believes is a better idea if college football's rules-makers are looking for meaningful change.

On his website, tommybowden.com, Bowden urges college football to consider a radical change, eliminating the nearly-automatic PAT in favor of a higher-risk after-touchdown opportunity.

"If we want to change a rule, change the extra point rule like the NFL is considering," Bowden wrote. "This would even bring more thrill and suspense to a game that is gaining in popularity every year.

"How would it work? There would be no more kicking an extra point, but the team would have an option to run a play for 1 point. A touchdown would now be worth 7 points. If you elect to go for an extra point and fail, then you lose 1 point and you now have 6 points. If you successfully make the extra point attempt, you get 1 point and now have 8 points. You can also chose not to attempt and extra point and your total would remain at 7."

Bowden pointed out that in the NFL, just five of 1,200 PATs were missed last season, and four of the five misses came on blocks. Decades ago, he said, that wasn't the case because teams didn't have kicking specialists.

"It was probably a running back who just carried the ball 8 times on a 12 play drive and lines up to kick with blood running down in his eyes and a sore knee and a banged up shoulder," Bowden wrote. "It surely wasn’t an automatic successful kick like it is today by a specialist who’s only job is to kick."

As for a recent proposal to slow down up-tempo, pace-pushing offenses, Bowden said he believes such a move would be unwise.

"One of the reasons college football has broken attendance records this year is because of the extra excitement that the no huddle up tempo offense has brought to the game," Bowden wrote. "That’s why the discussion to slow the game down doesn’t make sense to me.

"It would be wise for our rule makers in college football to stop tinkering with rules that remove some of the excitement."

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