Interesting article out of FiveThirtyEight today. The author looks at NFL kicking over time and finds that it has very, very steadily risen with each passing year:
What's most interesting is his conclusions toward the bottom, which state that going for it on 4th down from between 25-40 yards out may not be as smart of a decision as many statisticians believe. The Go-For-It crowd has been gaining a lot of momentum over the last few years (I've seen the chart he references quite a few times), but according to this author, taking the more "conservative" approach is quickly becoming the optimal strategy -- after all, an automatic 3 points is better than an outside shot at 7.
I don't know much about statistics, so I would be very interested to know if this guy's conclusions make sense. They pass the initial smell test to me, though.
On the other hand, we can't really apply these numbers to college football as kickers are notably less accurate (as we know). However, the implications at the top level are potentially significant.