NFL Changes Overtime Rules for Playoffs

By clemsoncannon  |   Tuesday, March 30, 2010  |  Comments( 1 )

NFL Football News
Got something to say?

Log In above and share your thoughts on this topic with other fans!

By a 28-4 vote, the NFL owners overwhelmingly voted to change the rules governing overtime in playoff games. The new rules for overtime have the following guidelines:

If the team that possesses the ball first in overtime scores a touchdown, the game is over.

If the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal, the other team gets a possession. If they score a touch down the game is over. If they fail to score the game is over. If they also score a field goal the games goes to sudden death.

I personally never had a problem with the current sudden death overtime rule. A football team has two equally important squads. If you lose the coin flip and do not want to lose the game then stop them. However, I do understand the rationale behind this change. The team that wins the coin flip has gone on to win the game 59.8% of the time over the last 15 seasons. The rules committee decided, perhaps correctly, that this was too big of an advantage and they needed to even the playing field by at least giving each team the opportunity to possess the ball in overtime.

This will definitely force head coaches to re-think their strategy in overtime. Up until now all they have tried to do is get in field goal range and end it. Now they will have to play for the TD. Or, if their defense is particularly strong, they may consider kicking off in overtime in some cases.

Change is inevitable and necessary in sports sometimes and this change seems to be a well planned one. What I don't understand is why the overtime change applies only to post-season games. It is said that the Saints OT victory over the Vikings was the final push to make this change. The Saints won the coin toss and were the beneficiary of a highly questionable pass interference penalty before kicking the game winning field goal. The rule change was made because the NFL does not want any playoff OT victory to seem unfair or tainted. Couldn't the same be said for a regular season game with playoff implications? It simply does not make sense to have a different set of rules once the playoffs start.

The rule is supposed to be re-visited at the owner's meetings in May and they have not ruled out the possibility of instating this rule for the 2010 regular season, although that seems unlikely to happen. But it is definitely something they should consider if they want the coaches and players to fully buy into what is already an unpopular rule change.
Got something to say?

Log In above and share your thoughts on this topic with other fans! (1)

Article Tools Share!   |  RSS  |  Bleacher Report About Bleacher Report