Tebow And the Potential Rule Changes

Howard Smith / USA TODAY Sports

Howard Smith / USA TODAY Sports

The owners will gather in San Francisco from May 18-20 for the NFL spring league meeting. There, they are expected to vote on a proposal that would alter the point after touchdown process.

All 32 owners apparently agree that the extra point (converted at a rate of 99.6 percent the past three years) has become too automatic and that change is needed. While the specifics of the proposal have not been finalized, Peter King believes it will look something like this:

— Teams will have a choice whether to go for one or two points after a touchdown, from different distances.

— If the offensive team chooses to kick for one point, the scrimmage line will move from the 2-yard-line to the 15-yard line, making it a 32- or 33-yard attempt.

— If the offensive team chooses to go for two points, the scrimmage line will be either the 1-and-a half- or 2-yard line. There was much debate about making it the 1, the 1-and-a-half or the 2. The feeling about putting it on the 1 was that it could turn into too much of a scrum/push-the-pile play, or a fluky puncture-the-goal-line-with-the-ball-and-bring-it-back play by the quarterback. Putting it at the 1-and-a-half or leaving it at the 2 would increase the chances of a real football play with some drama.

— The defensive team would be able to score two points by either blocking the PAT and returning it downfield to the end zone, or by intercepting the two-point attempt and running it back, or recovering a fumble on the two-point play and returning it all the way.

It needs 24 votes to pass. If it does, the rule changes could be implemented for the 2015 season.

Which brings us to Tim Tebow.

The two-point conversion would become a more prominent part of the sport if these rule changes are agreed to. Tebow’s skill set, you can argue, could come in handy in those type of goal-line situations. Did that influence the Eagles’ thought process when deciding to add him to the roster?

“Not entirely,” Ed Marynowitz responded. “But if that does come to fruition and there is a role there, depending on his performance that may dictate, maybe he’ll have a role in that capacity.”

First, he’ll have to make the team. Marynowitz noted that Tebow is “one of 68” on the roster right now and will be competing for a roster spot. He is one of five quarterbacks currently on the squad along with Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne. What happens over the next couple weeks and months will affect his odds of ending up on the 53-man. Will the Eagles be able to move Barkley? Will they draft a quarterback? There are several variables at play. What we know at this point is that they liked Tebow enough to give him a shot.

“We had exposure to him live when he was with New England when they practiced here [in 2013]. When we worked him out, we saw a great deal of improvement with him. ” said Marynowitz.  “We’ve got 68 players that are on our roster right now and Tim’s one of 68, so he’ll have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot here, and I’ve said this before, and this comes from Coach, his role will be determined by his performance.  We’re excited that he’s a member of the organization, and we’re looking forward to him competing.”

Should he earn a spot, the next decision is whether to make him active on game days to play the specialized role. Kelly typically dresses two quarterbacks on Sundays. We know how big he is on special teams. He would need to be convinced that the value of a Tebow package would be worth the cost of subtracting elsewhere.

To be determined how this all plays out. But it seems fair to say that the potential rule change has only helped Tebow’s cause to this point. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt his chances of sticking around if the owners vote ‘yes’ a few weeks from now.