NFL Turns to Sportsfield Specialties for Goal Post Experiment at 2015 Pro Bowl
As part of its desire to make the kicking aspect of scoring more exciting and unpredictable for fans, the National Football League has called upon its leading goal post supplier, Sportsfield Specialties Inc. (SSI) in Delhi, NY, to make custom 14-foot crossbars that will narrow the width of the goal posts for the 2015 Pro Bowl. The game, the league's annual showcase of its top stars will be played Sunday, Jan. 25 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, the same venue that will host the Super Bowl one week later.
After the NFL owners voted to increase the height of goal post uprights for the 2014 season from 30 feet to 35 feet, SSI had a busy summer retrofitting 23 of the NFL's 31 stadiums with new SSI posts and 35-foot uprights. Because University of Phoenix Stadium is already equipped with SSI goal posts—it became SSI’s first NFL facility when it opened in 2006—converting from the standard crossbar of 18 feet 6 inches is simply a matter of removing it and temporarily replacing it with the 14-foot version... Once the Pro Bowl is over, the stadium’s maintenance crew will remove the experimental crossbar and reinstall the standard size version for the Super Bowl.
A narrower goal post is the latest refinement to the kicking game being considered by the NFL. It is expected to place increased importance on accuracy and could result in noticeable changes in game strategy on fourth down plays. Currently more than 90 percent of field goals attempted from inside the 40-yard line are being converted and the accuracy rate for kicks longer than 40 yards has steadily improved in recent seasons.
"Today’s kickers are kicking the ball farther, higher, and more accurately than ever," said David Moxley, Director of Sports Construction Sales for SSI. "Their success has brought more attention to the goal posts and the size of the target. Given our relationship with the league, it’s a development we’re watching closely."