One of the more exciting plays in football can often be the two point conversion. This is because, many times either the game is on the line or a very important scoring opportunity will be influenced by whether the play succeeds or fails. After a touchdown is scored, it is immediately time for the extra point kick. Teams may opt not to kick the usually successful one point conversion attempt, and instead attempt a two point conversion that can be scored by either running or passing the ball over the goal line. There are a number of reasons that a team may choose to attempt a two point conversion. They could be down by one and want to go for the win instead of the tie, they could be down by two and in a situation where a one point conversion would not do them any good, the kicker could be injured, or they could be ahead but scoring two points may make their lead harder to overcome.
College football introduced the two point conversion in 1958, and since then many other leagues and levels of play have adopted it. The American Football League of the 1960s used the two point conversion, but it was not included in the rulebook following the AFL–NFL merger of 1970. The National Football League started using the two point conversion in 1994. Many high school and youth football programs use the two point conversion rule, sometimes because kicking at that level or younger is not very successful. The Arena Football League has made use of the two point conversion rule throughout it’s existence, and even added another two point possibility, when the ball is drop-kicked (similar to a punt) through the uprights as part of the extra point attempt. Both the World Football League of the 1970s and the XFL of 2001 did away completely with extra point kicks and required that a play be run from scrimmage from the two yard line to score the extra point, which remained valued at just one point. The XFL later added a rule allowing a team to opt to run their extra point attempt for two points from the five yard line, or three points from the ten yard line.
Some more little known facts about the two point conversion:
-During the 1968 preseason, the games that pitted the AFL teams against the NFL teams used a hybrid rule that eliminated extra point kicks and required a two point attempt to be run after every touchdown. Like the later WFL and XFL, these conversion attempts would only be valued at one point. This attempt at a new rule was never used again in the NFL.
-Through the 2008 season, no player has scored more two point conversions in their career than former Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk who did it seven times during his career.
-The two point conversion was first considered by the NCAA because scoring in college football was down at the time and they wanted to give teams another way to score more points.
-For almost every level of play in American colleges, an interception or recovered fumble on a two point conversion attempt can be returned all the way down the field to the other end zone by the defense for a two point defensive conversion. This is also true of a blocked one point conversion attempt too. The NFL and high school football do not recognize this rule, and the ball is deemed a dead ball as soon as the conversion attempt fails. High schools in Massachusetts and Tennessee however play by the NCAA college rules where defenses can score a two point conversion.
-The record for most two point conversions made during one season is held by Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap who did it four times during the 2003 season.
-The first team to score a two point conversion in the NFL was the Cleveland Browns in 1994. The player who scored it was punter, backup quarterback, and holder Tom Tupa.
-In many leagues, if an offensive player attempting a two point conversion is somehow sacked or tackled more than 95 yards behind the line of scrimmage in their own end zone, it is scored as a one point safety. Similarly, if the defense intercepts or recovers a fumble and retreats into their own end zone where they are tackled by the kicking team, the kicking team would score a one point safety.
-The first two point conversion in Super Bowl history was thrown by San Diego Chargers quarterback Stan Humphries to wide receiver Mark Seay in Super Bowl XXIX. The two point attempt came in the 3rd quarter and followed a 98 yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Andre Coleman. Later, in the 4th quarter, Humphries would throw a second Super Bowl two point conversion, this time to tight end Alfred Pupunu. The Chargers would go on to lose the Super Bowl that year to the San Francisco 49ers by the score of 49-26.
-The record for most two point conversions in one game is two, and is held by a number of players including Brett Perriman (Detroit Lions – 1994), Michael Jackson (Baltimore Ravens – 1996), Terrell Davis (Denver Broncos – 1997), Charles Johnson (Pittsburgh Steelers – 1998), Marshall Faulk (St. Louis Rams – 2000), Todd Heap (Baltimore Ravens – 2003), Reggie Bush (New Orleans Saints – 2007), and Tarvaris Jackson (Minnesota Vikings – 2007).