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Old 03-01-2010, 10:08 AM   #1
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New OT Rules

I guess it's time for the yearly OT rule change possibility. To be upfront, I am all in favor of requiring a TD to win it on either team's first possession. Here is PK's take, along with a cool story about Sean P sticking it to Jerry Jones - LOVED IT!

NFL overtime change proposal, combine, Mike McGuire, more - Peter King - SI.com

Quote:
Have an open mind about overtime. That's all I ask.

I know I've gotten this reputation as a fan (maybe haranguer is a better word) of overtime reform, but I just know that so much has changed since the NFL adopted a sudden-death system in 1974 that it deserves a second look. Ask yourself this question: If you could invent an overtime system for NFL games, what would you invent? Maybe you'd invent the exact same system that's on the books now -- with a coin flip deciding who gets the ball at the start of the extra period, and the first team to score wins. If you would vote for that system after considering what's happened to the game in the past 36 years, that's OK. But I'd be surprised if the keepers of the flame in NFL front offices would.

On Saturday, I reported that the NFL's rulemeisters, the seven-member Competition Committee, were close to bringing overtime reform to the floor for a vote at the NFL Meetings in Orlando in March. The committee will likely unanimously endorse a plan to be introduced for the 2010 playoffs, one that will ensure both teams will get at least one possession in overtime, unless one team scores a touchdown on the first possession of overtime. A touchdown (either on special teams, offense or defense) on the first possession ends the game. No touchdown means the game goes to sudden death on the second possession. There would still be a coin flip to start overtime, and the winner would still choose whether to take the ball or play defense on the first possession of the extra period.

The new overtime rule would have to be approved by 24 of the 32 NFL teams to pass. I still think it's very iffy, and if I had to guess today, I'd say it'd fail. But the leaders of the committee, Rich McKay and Jeff Fisher, will have a couple of weeks at the Competition Committee's annual meeting in Naples, Fla., before the league meetings to refine their case. I believe these will be the major selling points of the new rule:

1. The coin flip is playing too big a part in who wins and loses. Of the 445 overtime regular-season games played in the 36-year history of the system, only seven times has the team that won the flip chosen to kick off instead of receive. And over the past 16 seasons, the number of games won by the coin-flip winner has risen sharply. Between 1974 and 1993, 46.8 percent of overtime games were won by the coin-flip winner. Since 1994, it's 59.8 percent. It used to be that less than half the OT games were won by the lucky team to start the fifth quarter; now it's three out of five.

2. Overtime has become over-reliant on playing for field goals. In the first five years of overtime, NFL kickers were accurate on 61 percent of their attempts. In the last five years, the number is 82 percent. Except for the lousy performances of kickers in the playoffs this year, you can see why teams play for the field goal in overtime. Teams surely do: Since 1994, 73 percent of overtime games have been won by a field goal.

In the Saints' one-possession overtime victory over Minnesota this season, New Orleans won the toss, returned the ball to its 39, got two drive-enhancing penalties totaling 17 yards, struggled for 22 more yards, and won on a 40-yard Garrett Hartley field goal.

Think of it this way: When overtime was invented in the days of the Nixon Administration, the kickoff point was five yards to the kicking team's advantage, and a 40-yard field goal was a real challenge. Now the receiving team rarely starts at the 20, and a 40-yard field goal is probably an 85-percent guarantee.

3. The game has changed since the kickoff point was moved from the 35- to the 30-yard line in 1994. More balls returned instead of touchbacks, essentially. In overtime, teams are tired, mistakes are made. Instead of the offense taking over at the 20, now there's more of a chance to get a big edge on the opening kick and make a short drive for a field goal. One of the nearly two dozen players who sat in on the Competition Committee's meeting in Indianapolis to give input, Houston tackle Eric Winston told me over the weekend, "They're trying to prevent the 45-yard kick return, then a pass-interference call, then kneeling on the ball on third down, then kicking an easy field goal.''

4. The more-exposure-to-injury argument, really, is bogus. On average, the NFL plays 12 overtime games a year. That means a team has a 75 percent chance of playing an overtime game in an average year. And with more games now being won on the first possession of overtime (34 percent of games since 1994 have been won by the coin-flip winner on the first possession, compared to 25 percent in the earlier era), half of your team isn't going to take the field for a third of the OT games anyway.

Do you realize that Peyton Manning, Jeff Saturday and Reggie Wayne, the vets the Colts want to uber-protect from injury, have not played an overtime snap in the past 88 Indianapolis games? The Colt D had to play a series in the overtime playoff loss at San Diego in the 2008 season, but the offense hasn't played a fifth quarter since Dec. 26, 2004.

I'm not saying injuries don't happen in overtime; of course they do. But we're not talking about players playing three or four extra quarters a year; we're talking, on average a couple of extra series -- and in some cases, like the Colts', no offensive overtime snaps since Donald Brown was in high school.

I always hear players don't want to change the rule. I talked with three who attended the meeting in Indianapolis, and none seemed bothered by the change that could extend overtime a few plays. "I'm super in favor of it,'' Winston said. "I'd like to see the game not be so dependent on the coin flip.''

I've thought about this proposal a lot over the weekend. For a long time, I've wanted a strict two-possession system -- or at least one, as in the January Green Bay-Arizona playoff game, with the defense touching the ball and winning the game on the first possession. I still think it would be better to guarantee each side a shot at the ball, but I can live with this. It's a nod to the teams worried about exposure to injury; now a team can win on the first possession by playing aggressively for the touchdown. It minimizes the reliance on field goals.

But there's one unintended consequence that could complicate approval. (Then again, who knows? Maybe the intrigue, and the desperation, will help sell the system.) If Team A scores a field goal on the first possession, Team B would never punt, thus increasing its chance to score and extend the game. As the football analyst Brian Burke wrote in an email this weekend: "The second team with possession will have 33 percent more downs available to them on every series, without being concerned about the clock, and scoring becomes much more likely.'' (You can read his full explanation, with a few mathematical formulas that fly right over my Ohio University head, at advancednflstats.com.)

More intrigue, more desperate fourth-down conversion attempts. Good! Sounds like an added plus to me.

Could the game still be a field-goal derby? Sure. But this proposal would motivate teams to score touchdowns instead of settling for field goals. There'd be some drama now, too, with the coin flip, and some teams I'm sure would choose to defer so they'd know how many points they have to score to either win or extend the game.
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:11 AM   #2
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Re: New OT Rules

i dont like that proposal. why not just play a 15 minute overtime and treat it like an extra quarter? whoever leads at the end wins. no need to get all fancy with "each team gets a posession unless they score a touchdown on the first drive".
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:12 AM   #3
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Re: New OT Rules

That just seems too complicated to me. Id honestly rather just do away with overtime entirely - get it done in 4 quarters or the game ends in a tie. OR, if we must have OT, have a 5-10 minute overtime period and see what happens. whatever the score is at the end of that period is the final score of the game.
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:14 AM   #4
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Re: New OT Rules

LOL, that Sean P move was a classic. OT rule change is needed at this point. NFL will get it right, they usually do
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:15 AM   #5
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Re: New OT Rules

I think it's one of those cases where the rule is more complicated than the actual play on the field. If you score a TD you win. No more long FG's, or playing for long FG's so the other team doesn't get a shot.

Also, mods could you add PROPOSED to the thread title, it probably is a bit misleading. Thanks
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:15 AM   #6
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Re: New OT Rules

I've never had a big problem with OT as it is. If you want the ball back stop 'em. If your D can't get it done, oh well.
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:44 AM   #7
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Re: New OT Rules

If a team doesn't play well enough to win outright in the first 60 minutes, they have no right to complain about OT rules. Leave the OT rules alone.
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:48 AM   #8
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Re: New OT Rules

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Originally Posted by CRedskinsRule View Post
I think it's one of those cases where the rule is more complicated than the actual play on the field. If you score a TD you win. No more long FG's, or playing for long FG's so the other team doesn't get a shot.
I like the idea but here's a hypothetical situation that I think would need to be ironed out: Say the Redskins get the ball to start OT of a 21-21 game and drive down the field but get stuck at like 4th and 10 on the Giants' 20. Could they kick the FG to go up by 3 (this obviously wouldn't end the game since it's not a TD) and then hope to hold the giants to no score on their possession? This way the Skins scored first but it wasn't a TD so the game continues, but then after each team has had the ball the score is Skins 24-21. Game over?

Does that make any sense?
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:53 AM   #9
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Re: New OT Rules

I hate the NFL overtime rules. Every offseason more rules seem to be put in place to help the offenses in the NFL score points. There's nothing I hate more than not seeing a team get a chance with the ball that has been dominate offensively all game. I agree that another 15 minute quarter is the best option, but this is an upgrade. I feel like if you don't stop a touchdown -- then you had your chance. But getting into FG range is just too easy for competitive teams. Hell, one PI penelty can put you in FG range.

That's a good question AMD.
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:53 AM   #10
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Re: New OT Rules

AMD: Yes that's exactly right, and taking it further if the Giant's had a 4th and goal at the 9, they could opt to tie it by kicking a FG, and give us another possesion, or they could opt to go for the win by going for a TD. I think it would make for a much more dramatic and "satisfying" end then the way it can end now. The OT rules are good in the NFL, so if they don't change it, so be it, but I think they could make the game just a shade better by implementing this type change.
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:01 PM   #11
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Re: New OT Rules

isnt this proposal just for playoff games? thats what i read from another article.

i thought the idea was good until i read this from the article above:

As the football analyst Brian Burke wrote in an email this weekend: "The second team with possession will have 33 percent more downs available to them on every series, without being concerned about the clock, and scoring becomes much more likely.'

i would like a change to the overtime rules for the playoffs, not sure about the reg season thoo.
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:01 PM   #12
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Re: New OT Rules

McNabb is going to be confused again...or should we say "still"?

I do like the new proposals of score a TD or the other team gets a chance. It's closer to an ideal system. The college system can go on too long and it's more like a shootout in hockey than an OT because of the short distance needed to score. A lot of NFL overtimes are won by FGs, some even kicked on 1st-3rd downs to just get the game over with instead of using all downs and trying to score a TD. So, if the offense doesn't score a TD, I like giving the other team a chance. It's debatable if the other team should get a try after a TD on the opening OT drive, but if the first team was able to go all the way down the field to score a TD, they earned the win far more than a team that got maybe 2 first downs and a penalty to hit a FG.

I hope it passes. I guess the '2010 postseason' rule is going to make it a test, like MLB and instant replay experiments in the postseason. I believe it would be better to test something like this during the regular season for a few reasons: less chance of a bad rule costing teams in the playoffs...and it's very easy to have a postseason with no overtime games, even one or two is a small sample to test the effectiveness of a new rule or experimental rule.
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:06 PM   #13
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Re: New OT Rules

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Originally Posted by ArtMonkDrillz View Post
I like the idea but here's a hypothetical situation that I think would need to be ironed out: Say the Redskins get the ball to start OT of a 21-21 game and drive down the field but get stuck at like 4th and 10 on the Giants' 20. Could they kick the FG to go up by 3 (this obviously wouldn't end the game since it's not a TD) and then hope to hold the giants to no score on their possession? This way the Skins scored first but it wasn't a TD so the game continues, but then after each team has had the ball the score is Skins 24-21. Game over?

Does that make any sense?
i think your right. that is what the critism i qouted above was reffering too. the skins get the ball first, drive down to the giants 20, kick a fg.

since it was a fg and not a td, the giants would get the ball back either having to:

1) kick a fg to cont playing (until someone scores a td) or
2) they score a td, game ends, giants win 26-24 or
3) the giants are not in field position to kick a fg, go for it on 4th down, dont convert, skins win 24-21

the criticism the i bolded above is that it may be unfair to teh skins to allow the giants to get the ball back knowing that if they are not in fg position, they can go for it on 4th down thus giving them the benefit of being able to rely upon an extra down to advance the ball and score.
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:13 PM   #14
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Re: New OT Rules

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Originally Posted by Mattyk View Post
I've never had a big problem with OT as it is. If you want the ball back stop 'em. If your D can't get it done, oh well.
Yup. If it's not broken fix it until it is.
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:17 PM   #15
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Re: New OT Rules

I agree with Matty and Sammy's comments above.

If you didn't win it in regulation, you don't have much room to cry about how overtime went down.

And if you didn't stop the other team in overtime, blame your defense, not the rules.
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