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Penalties on try can't be enforced after the kickoff — yet

On Friday, we pointed out a potential flaw in the new kickoff rule, one that could result in defenses going after kickers during PAT attempts with no real consequences.

Because a penalty on the try results only in the spot of the kick and not the configuration of the other 21 players changing, there's no real downside to going all out to block an extra point.

After posting the story (and discussing it on Friday's PFT Live), we caught wind of a belief in some circles that teams will have the option to enforce a penalty on the try after the kickoff. So if, for example, roughing the kicker happens during the try, the kicking team could then kick the ball out of the end zone — and then back the offense up from the 30 to the 15 before the start of the next drive.

According to the NFL, that's not the case. "There is no option to enforce after the kickoff," a league spokesman told PFT via email on Friday.

That possibly will change. Consider the final portion of the one-page summary of the new rule: "The special teams working group will continue to work with the Officiating department to examine any necessary approved rulings and/or additional language that may be necessary to support this new rule. This language will be vetted with the clubs, circulated for comment to all the clubs, and finalized by the May meeting for the membership."

In theory, this process could be used to address the "clobber the kicker" loophole. And, yes, the easy fix is to give the kicking team the option to enforce roughing the kicker on the try after the kick.

But consider this. What happens if the receiving team returns the kick for a touchdown? Does the offense then start the drive at the defense's 15? It would be odd, to say the least, to have a touchdown taken off the board for a penalty that didn't happen during that play.

This is why they shouldn't have rushed the new kickoff rule. They should have taken two months to continue to think it all through, to identify any potential problems, and to solve them — if they can be solved.

And good luck solving the problem of defenses having no reason to not go all out to block each and every PAT. There's really no good solution, at least none that we can think of. Feel free to suggest any you might have.