Less than one week after the NFL condemned his PAT proposal with deafening silence, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin hints the 2015 Steelers may go for 2 early and often.
As the Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Mark Kaboly recounts, when OTA’s began, the Steelers offense huddled at the 20 yard line – Mike Tomlin however ordered the team into a 2 point conversion drill. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger knew what was coming, but it was a surprise to the rest of the offense.
- Tomlin explained his motive to the rest of the offense in simple terms: “We are not going to talk about it, we are just going to do it.”
By moving the extra point kick back to what will now be a 32 or 33 yard field goal, the extra point will still be almost automatic instead of being virtually automatic. In 2014 NFL kickers converted extra point kicks more than 99% of time, whereas 33 yard field goals were approximately 94% proposition.
Since Mike Tomlin joined the Steelers in 2007, the Steelers have converted 10 of 13 2 point conversion attempts or nearly 77% and they hold the best two point conversion record in the NFL since 2001, having converted 72.7%
The irony is that the most Steelers fans can probably name at least two of these failures without going to Google.
- The first came in the Steelers 2007 playoff loss to the Jaguars, where Tomlin went for 2 even after a penalty
- The second came after the Steelers scored a touchdown vs. Baltimore on Thanksgiving 2014
Both missed opportunities cost the Steelers dearly. The first severely set hurt the Steelers comeback efforts, and the second time it robbed them of a chance to tie the game, and allowed the Ravens to run out the clock.
As Ben Roethlisberger confided to Mark Kaboly, all 33 yard field goals are not created equally – kicking one in a dome or in a place like Tampa Bay isn’t quite the same as kicking a 33 yard field goal on a windy November evening at Heinz Field.
It will be interesting to see what strategy Tomlin employs regarding the two point conversion. At the very least Tomlin’s intent on establishing a “Be prepared to go for 2”mindset starting with the first set of Steelers OTA’s that includes both veterans and members of the Steelers 2015 draft class.