Reason #2: The extra points
Fairbairn’s extra point percentage, 2019 NFL Rank: # 29
So far in the 2019 regular season, six extra points have been blocked throughout the entire NFL. One of them came off the foot of Fairbairn. In 31 attempts following touchdowns, the Texans’ kicker has made 26 extra points, good for a second-to-last place conversion percentage of all NFL kickers.
Nonetheless, it remains easy to see why the Texans signed Fairbairn. In his last two seasons as a
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UCLA Bruin, Fairbairn secured a remarkable 94 out of 95 extra-point attempts—good for a conversion percentage north of 98 percent. Additionally, the third-year pro earned the prestigious Lou Groza Award in 2015—the college kickers’ version of winning a Heisman Trophy. And by all accounts, the native Hawaiian appears to be a positive locker room presence—also a plus for O’Brien’s organizational vision.
Of course, the NCAA extra point conversion remains an easier feat to accomplish than its NFL counterpart. According to Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated, the distance between the two leagues requires NFL kickers to back up roughly 12 more yards compared to those kicking at the college level. Also, the speed and talent of the NFL game requires kickers to utilize faster approaches and increased kicking accuracy immediately following the snap, thereby decreasing the likelihood of kickers converting kicks into points successfully.