Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The NFL has finally done something about their hotly debated sudden death overtime. Albeit, only in postseason play. The standard OT rules will remain for regular season games. The NFL owners approved the change by a vote of 28-4.

The new system is actually similar to one I've proposed in the past. There's a coin toss, determining first possession. Now if the first team with the ball scores a touchdown, the game is over. But if they only manage a field goal, the other team gets a possession as well. If both teams get field goals, the game will thereafter resume as sudden death (so another field goal would win it).

It certainly removes some of the air of illegitimacy from coin-toss winners moving the ball 40 yards then kicking a field goal. OT winners will have more certainty and less doubt about whether or not they "deserved" to win, or were simply beneficiaries of a lucky coin-toss.

It's strange that the rule is ONLY for postseason play. The NFL is essentially admitting that their old overtime rules are inferior, yet they're keeping them in place. This convinces me that the rule change isn't about fairness, it's about legitimacy.

Then again, there'd be no ties at the end of a postseason overtime, they'd just play another 15:00 period. So it makes sense not to increase the likelihood of tied games in the regular season.

Ironically, Minnesota was one of the 4 teams that voted against the change, even though it was they who the Saints beat in OT after the toss of a coin.

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