Devil’s Advocate: Aggressive Two-Point Philosophy

You may recall for the past several offseasons that I ran an article series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take. I used it to explore different issues and topics the Pittsburgh Steelers were facing and took a positive or negative approach, examining each side in a separate article. This is essentially the same idea behind that, only condensed into one article for every topic.

In this version of the idea, I’ll be playing the Devil’s Advocate for both sides of the issue, looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios in trying to find the range of likely outcomes of what is likely to happen for the Steelers relating to whatever topic the article is covering.

When it comes to the process of trying to construct a championship roster, the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts, and several ways to acquire said parts. There are a lot of things that can go right or wrong in not always predictable ways, so I think it’s helpful to try to look at issues by seeking out the boundaries of the likely positive or negative results.

Topic: Should the Steelers continue to use their aggressive, proactive two-point conversion approach after last year’s struggles?

During the 2015 season, Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin evidently felt confident enough in his team’s work during his ‘Seven Shots’ practice drill to believe that the offense can consistently execute two-point conversion plays, and the team began attempting them in non-essential situations, such as in a 9-3 game in the second quarter after scoring a touchdown, to make it 11-3 rather than 10-3.

In doing, so, he used what he sees as a strength of his team to place a greater burden, and more pressure, on the opposition to match the output, sort of like a game of Horse.

They were excellent at it that year. During the offseason last year, Ben Roethlisberger and others talked about considering going for it every time. I even wrote about it, and I believe I concluded that it was at least not an absurd notion.

Last season’s success? Nooooot so much. They attempted nine two-point conversions on the year, the most in the league by two, but they only successfully converted on three of them, for a one-third success rate. They had been converting at a rate of about three out of four prior to last season in Tomlin’s tenure. And some of those misses were particularly unfortunate. That’s the risk you run.

But can it be more worth it in 2017? What if they have Martavis Bryant and Ladarius Green back out there, making the fade routes look routine in practice?

The topic is not whether the Steelers will continue to utilize a proactive two-point approach at times in 2017. I believe the answer to that is that they will. The question is whether they should, or if they should abandon it.

Which side do you lean closer toward?

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