New OT rules applied to reg. season

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2012 – 10:17 am

The new overtime rules instituted for postseason football last year will now be applied to the regular season as well.

The NFL owners approved the expansion of the overtime rules, which allow each team to possess the ball once unless a touchdown is scored on the initial possession in overtime, to the regular season. Last year it applied only to postseason games.

NFL head coaches complained that the overtime differences between the regular season and postseason presented added work and changed strategy for overtime.


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Why NFL overtime could see change

Posted by Chris Brown on March 17, 2010 – 3:24 pm

With the NFL’s Competition Committee set to bring new rule proposals to the table at the league meetings next week, the one getting the most attention is the change to the league’s overtime.

Atlanta Falcons team President Rich McKay heads up the Competition Committee confirmed the new overtime proposal will be presented, but only for postseason use.

“We will propose a rule on the modification of the sudden death procedure in overtime,” McKay said in a conference call Wednesday. “We will say that we would like to have it where there would be an opportunity to possess in the event the first team with the ball does not score a touchdown.”

So if the team that wins the coin toss and possesses the ball first only kicks a field goal, their opponent would have an opportunity for a possession as well. The main reason this was the route the Competition Committee chose was due to the dramatic rise in the percentage of first possession overtime victories by way of a field goal over the past 35 years.

McKay cited the following statistics. From 1974 (when overtime was instituted) to 1993 there was a dead even split between teams that won the coin toss and teams that lost the coin toss. Teams that won the coin toss during that span won the game 46.8% of the time. Teams that lost the coin toss won the game 46.8% of the time.

But the Competition Committee found that from 1994-2009 the teams that won the coin toss during that span won the game 59.8% of the time and teams that lost the coin toss won the game only 35.8% of the time.

That’s a 13 percent shift in the numbers making what was once a dead even number going off the coin toss into a 20 percent edge to the team that’s winning the coin toss.

McKay says the edge was caused mainly by the improved kicking percentage of today’s kickers from long distance and the improved field position for receiving teams with kickoffs taking place at the 30-yard line instead of where kickoffs used to be, which was the 35.

So by not allowing overtime games to end when the team with first possession kicks a field goal, the Competition Committee is hoping to even those percentages again between the team that wins and loses the coin toss.

Whether it encourages teams with the first possession to go for it instead of trying to kick a field goal remains to be seen. I would think if you have a team with a dominant defense, you would still kick the field goal and rely on your defense to stop the opponent when they get their possession. Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

McKay also clarified that if the team that has the ball first kicks a FG and the other team (under this rule) gets their possession and kicks a FG, then it’s pure sudden death after that. First team to score next wins.

What do you think of this proposal?


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OT format unlikely to change

Posted by Chris Brown on February 5, 2010 – 4:09 pm

With all the brouhaha raised following the outcome of the overtime playoff clashes between the Packers and Cardinals and the Vikings and Saints, don’t look for the league to be changing the sudden death overtime format.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the possibility of the rules being changed in any way, which currently is first team that scores wins, and in the minds of some favors the team that wins the coin toss.

“I wouldn’t hold your breath,” said Goodell, who also stated that to this point the league has not found a better solution or format for overtime.

That obviously means that the college format where each team gets possession is not being considered.


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