Convert


Convert
San Francisco 49ers kicker Joe Nedney prepares to kick an extra point with punter Andy Lee as the holder in November 2008.

The convert or try, in American football known as "point after", and Canadian football "Point after touchdown", is a one-scrimmage down played immediately after a touchdown during which the scoring team is allowed to attempt to score an extra one point by kicking the ball through the uprights (in the manner of a field goal), or two points by run or pass (in the manner of a touchdown).[1] The play may also be referred to as a conversion, try-for-point, extra point, (sometimes abbreviated as PAT), or point after (sometimes abbreviated as PTA).

If the convert is attempted by kicking the ball through the uprights, the team gets an additional one point for their touchdown, bringing their total for that score from six points to seven. If two extra points are needed or desired, a two-point conversion try may be attempted by running or passing from scrimmage. A successful touchdown conversion brings the score's total to eight.

Whether a team goes for one or two points, most rules regarding scrimmage downs, including scoring touchdowns and field goals, apply as if it were a normal fourth down play. Exceptions, including cases where the defense forces a turnover during a conversion attempt, vary between leagues and levels of play.

Contents

History

The extra point is among the oldest parts of the game of gridiron football and dates to its rugby roots. In its earliest days, scoring a touchdown was not the primary objective but a means of getting a free kick at the goal (hence why the name "try," more commonly associated with rugby today, is still in American football rule books), and thus early scoring rubrics for the game gave more points to the subsequent kick than the actual advancement of the ball into the end zone. The related term "conversion" is still used in both rugby union and rugby league to refer to extra points scored by kicking the ball through the posts after a try has been scored.

By the start of the 20th century, touchdowns had become more important and the roles of touchdown and kick were reversed. By this time the point value for the after-touchdown kick had reduced to its current one-point value while the touchdown was now worth five. (This later increased to six points in American football in 1912 and in Canadian football in 1956.)[citation needed]

In 2011, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick suggested that the standard extra point be eliminated in favor of teams either automatically taking seven points for a touchdown or taking six with a chance for a two-point conversion, due to the relative ease of the extra point being made.[2]

Even in the rare instances that the placekicker misses the extra point, the missed point has generally not influenced the outcome of games. Perhaps the most famous exception to this was the 2003 game between the New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars where, after scoring a touchdown as time expired as a result of the multiple-lateral River City Relay, Saints kicker John Carney missed the extra point, giving the Jaguars a 20-19 victory and eliminating the Saints from playoff contention. A 2005 game between the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers is another notable exception, as the Buccaneers won 17-16, the difference being Ryan Longwell missing an extra point after a Packers touchdown.[3]

Duration of the play

In the NFL and American high school football (in most states), the play is over once either the attempt fails or the defense takes possession. In many other levels of football, including the Canadian Football League and American college football, the play continues until the ball is otherwise dead. This allows the defense to recover the ball to return it to the opponent's end zone for two points. Two states, Texas and Massachusetts, play high school football under NCAA rules and thus allow the defense to score on an extra point attempt.

Differences between leagues

In the National Football League, the scrimmage for point after attempt takes place from the two-yard line. In American high school and college football, it is from the three-yard line. In Canadian football it is from the five-yard line. The game clock does not run during an extra-point attempt, except for some rare circumstances at the high-school level (some state associations allow for the clock to run continuously in the second half if one team is leading the other by a large margin)[4] and for arena football, which runs a continuous running clock except during the final minute of each half.

In the NFL, the attempt for extra point(s) is required after a touchdown scored during the regulation game (i.e., not overtime), because points are used for some tiebreakers in the standings. Rarely, this can result in such an attempt having to be made at the end of the game when it cannot change the outcome of the game.

If the game is in sudden death overtime, the extra-point attempt is omitted if the winning score is a touchdown. In American high school and college football, it's likewise omitted following a touchdown on the game's final play if six points were enough to win or if the scoring team was already ahead or can not win or tie the game with a successful conversion attempt.

There is, however, one notable exception in college football because the defense can also score two points on a return of a conversion try (and theoretically score a one-point safety) and the NCAA rules state that the conversion try must be run if any scoring in it could impact the outcome of the game. Therefore, if a team scores to take the lead by one or two points as time expires, they must still attempt the conversion, although most teams will simply opt to take a knee to prevent the risk of the defense scoring. For example, on October 24, 2008, Iowa scored as time expired to take a 15-13 lead over Michigan State. Making the conversion would have made no difference in Iowa winning the game, but Iowa still had to attempt it, so Ricky Stanzi simply knelt down, as a return by Michigan State would have tied the game and forced overtime.

Other leagues

In 1968, the AFL and NFL eliminated the extra-point kick for interleague preseason games, only allowing one-point scrimmage plays. The World Football League and XFL did the same in their short lives, though the XFL later implemented a variable system that allowed increasing point values for increasing the distance to the end zone on the attempt for its playoffs; said system was later adopted by the Stars Football League and, in a reduced form, the Lingerie Football League.[citation needed] In arena football, two points can also be scored by means of a drop-kicked field goal. Some youth football leagues turn the scoring upside-down to an extent, scoring one point for a running touchdown and two points for either of a passing touchdown or field goal; six-man football follows a similar convention that rewards one point for a pass or run and two points for a kick.

See also

References


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  • convert — con·vert /kən vərt/ vt 1 a: to change from one form or use to another b: to exchange (property) for another esp. of a different kind if property...is compulsorily or involuntarily convert ed Internal Revenue Code; esp: to exercise the right of… …   Law dictionary

  • Convert — Con*vert , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Converted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Converting}.] [L. convertere, versum; con + vertere to turn: cf. F. convertir. See {Verse}.] 1. To cause to turn; to turn. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] O, which way shall I first convert… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Convert — Con vert, n. 1. A person who is converted from one opinion or practice to another; a person who is won over to, or heartily embraces, a creed, religious system, or party, in which he has not previously believed; especially, one who turns from the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • convert — [n] new believer catechumen, disciple, follower, neophyte, novice, novitiate, proselyte; concept 361 convert [v1] change; adapt alter, apply, appropriate, commute, downlink, download, interchange, make, metamorphose, modify, remodel, reorganize,… …   New thesaurus

  • Convert — Nom surtout porté dans l Ain, la région lyonnaise et l Auvergne. Désigne celui qui est converti au christianisme, ou encore un frère convers (personne qui se consacre aux travaux manuels dans un couvent). Variante : Convers (43, 70, 74).… …   Noms de famille

  • convert — [kən vʉrt′; ] for n. [ kän′vʉrt΄] vt. [ME converten < OFr convertir < L convertere < com , together + vertere, to turn: see VERSE] 1. to change from one form or use to another; transform [convert grain into flour] 2. to cause to change… …   English World dictionary

  • Convert — Con*vert , v. i. To be turned or changed in character or direction; to undergo a change, physically or morally. [1913 Webster] If Nebo had had the preaching that thou hast, they [the Neboites] would have converted. Latimer. [1913 Webster] A red… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • convert — is pronounced with stress on the first syllable as a noun and on the second syllable as a verb …   Modern English usage

  • convert — ► VERB 1) change in form, character, or function. 2) change (money, stocks, or units in which a quantity is expressed) into others of a different kind. 3) adapt (a building) to make it suitable for a new purpose. 4) change one s religious faith… …   English terms dictionary