NFL owners pass playoff OT rules change

The NFL owners voted today to change the overtime rules in the playoffs. Per the new rules, the team that lost the coin toss will get a possession if their opponents (the team that won the coin toss) don’t score a touchdown on their first possession.


The proposal passed 28-4. As it is written, the rules change applies just for the postseason, but the owners also decided to discuss adopting the changes for the regular season at their next meeting, in May in Dallas.

“We’ve had this discussion for a number of years,” competition committee co-chairman Rich McKay said. “We feel this year’s proposal gave us the opportunity to [install] a pretty good rule. Statistically we felt it needed to be changed. It wasn’t creating the fairest result as far as field goal accuracy, field goal distance and drive starts.”

McKay said one of the selling points was it maintained the sudden death aspect of overtime.

As a fan, I really don’t know how to feel about this. Truth be told, I was fine with the coin toss as is, but I also don’t fault those that wanted to see the rule changed because games were being decided on the first possession (and by a coin toss, no less). So I guess I’m intrigued with how this could affect playoff games.

That said, whether you like the change or not, this new rule could breathe even more excitement into playoff games. Now, even if a team marches up the field and winds up kicking a field goal, they still have to play defense in order to win. I like the idea of adding more possessions in overtime, providing that the team that won the coin toss doesn’t score a touchdown of course. I think the rule is still a little janky (why not give the opposing team a chance to have a possession, regardless of whether or not the winners of the coin toss score a TD), but again, I’m intriguing by how this will all play out.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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