Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Extra Points and the Only Score that Matters

The Falcons' Matt Bryant was 39 for 39
this year in kicking Extra Points
   Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the National Football League, revealed Monday that he is considering changing the rules of football to eliminate the kick attempt after a touchdown. For as long as the sport has been played, touchdowns earn a team 6 points before the chance to kick the ball through the goalposts for an extra point. It is sometimes called the Point After Touchdown or PAT, for short. He explained, “The extra point is almost automatic. I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd. So it’s a very small fraction of the play..." The plan would be to make touchdowns worth seven points, not six. Rather than sending the kicking team on after a touchdown, teams would have a choice whether to attempt to get in the end zone for a conversion and a total of eight points. A failed conversion, however, would drop the damage down to six points, so as involve a little risk in exchange for the higher return.
   I don't like the idea. I really don't. Here is why.
   I like getting extra stuff. We all do. I like paying one amount and getting more for it. I like upgrades and discounts and two-for-one deals, but I don't see these as being comparable to what is happening on the football field. In football, the point after the touchdown is something you earn. Who cares if teams have become so consistent with it that kickers make it 99.9% of the time? Some games have been won because these kicks are not automatic - just ask the Jaguars who won 20-19 when the Saints' kicker missed the PAT with .00 on the clock. Make the teams play. Make them execute. Excellence is found within the details and the small stuff. Extra points might seem like small stuff...until you miss one to lose the game.
   What does this have to do with God, Jesus, the Bible, and the rest of the world apart from sports? Nothing. Unless in this conversation we are reminded that life is really about the small stuff. Executing the details is where days are won or lost for the good. We are remembered by most people not for the dramatic, suspenseful, daring acts that come around so rarely. Most of our actions are of the PAT variety:  
When you forgave your sister. 
When you offered grace before the meal in front of your kids. 
When you spent your afternoon in a church kitchen preparing a hot meal for hungry people.
When you wrote that check that helped a teenager to go serve in missions.
When you read with your grandchild.
   What does the bible say about extra points: not one thing. But, Jesus did surprise a bunch of people when he said heaven is open to those who do the little things like visit the sick, feed the hungry, clothe and care for those who are without. He said we do those things for Him in Matthew 25
   The NFL can do what it wants. I would hope we would see how important the little acts we execute every day add up to something much larger than any game played in a stadium.
   Grace and Peace to you, Scott

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