NFL to change overtime format for playoffs?

The NFL is considering a change of its overtime format for future playoff games.


Under the new format, both teams would get the ball at least once unless the first team to get the ball scores a touchdown, Greg Aiello said. If the first team to get the ball makes a field goal and the other team ties the game, action would continue until a team scores again.

The debate about the rules gained steam after the NFC championship game, when New Orleans beat Minnesota 31-28 in overtime and Brett Favre’s Vikings never got the ball in the extra period. Under the proposed rule, Minnesota would have gotten another possession because the Vikings didn’t allow a touchdown.

John Paulsen and I recently debated what the best way would be to revamp the NFL overtime system, which you can check out here. He likes the idea of a blind auction, which would certainly be fair for both sides and add more intrigue than the coin toss. I wrote that I would be all for it as long as the process didn’t turn into a game show at midfield.

That said, I’m also fine with a coin toss. Is it thrilling? No. Is it fair that one team can win without the other team even touching the ball? Probably not. But it’s simple and it’s tradition. The game is the thrilling part – I don’t need anything more elaborate than a coin toss to determine which team gets the ball first. And if more defenses rose to the challenge and stopped their opponent from scoring (which is the whole point of a defense in the first place) on the first possession in the extra quarter, then we might not be having this debate at all.

If the NFL wants to change its overtime format, then I won’t be appalled or angry. But just make a decision and be done with it, because this is beginning to be a tired topic. I have a bigger issue with the fact that it took Brett Favre not getting a possession in last year’s NFC title game for the league to sit down and talk about a rule change. Why doesn’t the NFL just change its name to the Brett Favre League and be done with it. The “BFL” it is.

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Barstool Debate: What’s the best way to revamp the NFL overtime system?

I was reading ESPN The Magazine today, and in their New Year, New Rules issue, Peter Keating suggests a few ways to improve the NFL’s rules for overtime.

I thought I’d pull in our NFL guru, Anthony Stalter, and kick a few of these around. I have a personal favorite that wasn’t on Keating’s list that we’ll discuss at the end.

John Paulsen: All right, Anthony. Keating writes that there are three rules to overtime: 1) it “should preserve the essential character of a sport while moving games toward conclusive results,” 2) it should be fair, and 3) it should be fun. The current overtime system in the NFL isn’t fair, and I’d argue that it isn’t fun either. Although my beloved Packers lost in OT after winning the coin flip, 72% of teams that won the flip last season went on to win the game. That’s not fair. And if it’s not fair, then it’s not fun, either. Keating’s first suggestion is the divide-and-choose method. The winner of the coin toss picks the yard line at which the ball would be placed (say, the 25-yard line) and the other would decide who gets the ball. The first team to score wins the game. What do you think?

Anthony Stalter: I fail to see how this is a major improvement over the system that is currently in place. It still puts too much emphasis on a coin flip and besides, I think we’d see the ball being placed on the 20-yard line more times than not. A team wouldn’t want to start backed up to its own goal line and wouldn’t want another team to start close to midfield. So the ball would likely be placed at the 20 and thus, all you’re really doing is eliminating the kickoff. And if we were just eliminating the kickoff, teams would still want the ball first and therefore, hate winning the coin toss.

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