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Which kicker will be the first to miss an extra point?

in Apolitical/Sports/Top Headlines by

OK, who blinks first?

Now that field goals have been moved back all the way to the 15-yard line by the NFL, which team is most likely to be the first to blow one of them.

And will it be the Tampa Bay Bucs?

Oh, that’s a fear, of course, because of the fatalist in you. After all, last year the Bucs seemed to find every other way to lose a football game.

But the odds aren’t in favor of the Bucs. One, they don’t score enough. Two, the weather is usually too good. Kicker Patrick Murray was actually pretty solid last year, making all 31 of his extra points and seven of eight field goals inside the 40 (the new distance will be from the 33).

So glance across the league and you find a likely suspect.

How about Green Bay?

Look, the Packers score an amazing number of touchdowns. Last year, they scored 55. Score that often, and the odds tend to catch up with you. For instance, Green Bay did miss two extra points. Part of that may have been the frigid conditions in which the Packers play.

In fact, the worst extra-point kicking teams of them all were bad- weather teams. Buffalo missed one, and Chicago missed two.

Now that an extra point is essentially a 33-yard field goal, will they miss more?

Oh, there won’t be a lot of misses. Experts suggest maybe a couple a week. Kickers still hit 90 percent of their kicks from that distance.

But someone’s going to miss, and some kicker is going to lose his job, and some fan is going to lose his mind.

Maybe, just maybe, you’ll pay a bit more attention. Which is kind of the point.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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