Things can happen. But when they do they can happen quite literally at the very last second — or in the chaos of the end zone.
About one-fifth of all NFL games in recent years have been decided by 2-point conversions, and over that time about half the teams that failed to convert at least twice as many as the ones that did, ended up lifting their clubs past the opposition.
Washington had their twice in the past five years, as did Houston in the 2009 season (won, and Houston went on to the AFC Championship game) and Philadelphia in 2015 (won and Philadelphia made the NFC Championship game). Last year, Baltimore suffered the same fate, losing to Carolina after failing to convert twice (lost and lost, of course). Related Articles Report: Johnny Manziel seeks new team
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Chicagoans will remember that in 2014, the Bears lost to Jacksonville by three points when Connor Barth missed a game-winning extra point after an interception by then-rookie Eddie Royal. That result prompted veteran kicker Robbie Gould to tell the Tribune he felt “very ripped off.”
So while it’s been almost one third of all NFL games played since 2010, it’s been a one-third presence in the postseason.
In last year’s wild card round alone, there were four 2-point conversions that went against the bettors’ odds (all of which failed, naturally). First were Jacksonville’s Sean Newhouse to Corey Grant for a 4-yard score with one second left in the first half of a quarterfinal match-up against Pittsburgh, then there was Carson Wentz’s 2-point prayer to Dorial Green-Beckham with four seconds left in a wild-card match-up with Minnesota, which Adam Vinatieri missed wide left.
Two games later, the Chiefs won wild-card match-up against Oakland on a Nick Foles 2-point conversion. The Coliseum-cast crew said it looked like Vinatieri’s foot wasn’t going to hit the uprights, which cannot be called a 2-point conversion.
New England followed the Chiefs winning the wild-card tie-breaker with a similar defeat, when they fell to Houston on a 2-point conversion with just one second left after failing at their own earlier 2-point conversion.
When asked about a flawed time frame during Super Bowl week, the Falcons owner Arthur Blank defended the NFL’s gambling tradition.
“The point of a 2-point conversion is that it’s a chance for you to win,” Blank said, adding that using a two-point conversion “brings the odds closer to what you’d generally expect in a normal NFL game. We’ve taken what we consider to be the best odds and we put them on our 2-point conversion. We never did that before. It’s a good opportunity and they’re very rare and very valuable. We’re not going to turn down such a chance in a postseason game.”
In other words, if that chance ends up costing your club an opportunity to score, then clearly your gamble is a bad one.