stefon diggs

It’s easy to forget, but the final play of January’s NFC divisional playoff game between the Saints and the Vikings was not, in fact, Stefon Diggs’ incredible last-second catch-and-run that sent Minnesota to the conference championship game. It was actually a belated, anticlimactic kneel-down that forced devastated New Orleans players to return to the field.

As it turns out, that game will be the last time a losing team ever has to drag itself out to the field on the heels of a heart-breaking game-winner to watch its opponent seal victory with zero seconds left on the clock. The NFL passed a rule Wednesday eliminating meaningless extra point attempts at the end of regulation.

This rule change is so obvious that it’s hard to figure why the league ever had it any other way, especially given that teams are not required to attempt extra points following walk-off overtime wins. It’s just common sense. Unless you have bet the point spread, you can’t possibly have interest in a final PAT that has absolutely no bearing on the game, and it’s almost cruel to make the losing team suffer through one. Just ask the Saints players who had already walked off the field toward the locker room when they were forced to return for the kneel, as Vikings players and various others milled around the turf.

The elimination of unnecessary PATs was actually one of seven rules approved Wednesday by the NFL’s competition committee. Others include the much-publicized change to the catch rule, the outlawing players lowering their helmets to initiate hits and a minor tweak to overtime scoring rules. The full list is available on NFL.com.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.