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On overtime onside kicks

We know many of you have questions about the new overtime rules, so let’s try to answer one more.

Some of you have asked what happens if a team recovers an onside kick on the first kickoff of overtime.   In that scenario, the recovering team could win the game on a field goal.   The rules read:

“A kickoff is the opportunity to possess for the receiving team. If the kicking
team legally recovers the kick, the receiving team is considered to have had its
opportunity.”

So a team could get a “walkoff” win by recovering the kick and going in for a score.  Sudden death rules would then apply.  The same rules apply if the receiving team fumbles a kickoff.

In theory, this could make coaches more bold to open overtime.  They could fail to recover the onside kick, still hold the opposing team to a field goal, and get the ball back.

In practice, we suspect most coaches will avoid risking so much field position, just like in regulation.

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23 Responses to “On overtime onside kicks”
  1. justo says: Mar 23, 2010 5:23 PM

    Unless Hank Basset is on the Kick off recovery team!!!!

  2. gumbo says: Mar 23, 2010 5:25 PM

    I think it’s worth the risk.

  3. John El Way says: Mar 23, 2010 5:26 PM

    WOW, really lame rules there. Congrats

  4. jesuisunpizza says: Mar 23, 2010 5:27 PM

    But what about a line-drive kickoff that attempts to bang off one of the up-men?
    If a kicker hits him, and K team recovers, then you’ve just denied a possession to the R team.
    If a kicker misses him, then he’s probably only giving up 15 yards of field position from a regular kickoff and also decreasing the odds of a KO return for a TD.

  5. Smitty Gill says: Mar 23, 2010 5:30 PM

    Kinda like my Saints did to the Colts………They had an opportunityand blew it………..Tuff S%&T.
    Stop crying for Pete’s sake……..You Lost !!!!

  6. DanSnyder says: Mar 23, 2010 5:32 PM

    Here lies a problem. The threat of onside kicks will mean less coverage on the return unit on both sides and could end up with break downs in kickoff coverage.
    If I have a good defensive team and see the opposing team with standard kickoff coverage what reason is there not to go for the onside kick? The threat of a fieldgoal isn’t much of a threat anymore since it can’t win the game initially.
    I bet if there is overtime next season and the first team who gets the ball kicks a fieldgoal that would normally win the game and the second team scores a touchdown there will be alot of pissed off people.
    Seems more to me then anything this rule benefits offense the most since a touchdown is the only thing that truly matters on the first two drives of overtime. Just another move to increase scoring. I won’t argue though, I’m neither for or against and pretty much accept the change if for nothing else then the fact it’s change and keeps things interesting.

  7. WarrenMoonGOAT says: Mar 23, 2010 5:34 PM

    this Brett Favre rule sucks
    so say the receiving team in OT kicks a field goal. kicks the ball off the other team fumbles the kick off, they get the ball back, can’t score a TD and kick a field goal again do they win?

  8. AnnoyingKnowItAll says: Mar 23, 2010 5:36 PM

    ok, this is completely wild-eyed, but what if….
    Colts-Chargers OT scenerio in a tied 20-20 game
    Colts begin overtime with kick off to Chargers.
    Charges drive for FG. Chargers 23- Colts 20
    Colts recieve kickoff drive to 10 yardline, 1st and goal.
    Colts throw interception on 2 yardline.
    FUMBLE!
    Ball inadvertently kicked in endzone.
    Chargers recover… Safety.
    Under the current rule as Farmar describes where a saftey wins the game do the colts win Colts win 22-23?
    Ummmmm… am i missing something?????

  9. raidersteve413 says: Mar 23, 2010 5:40 PM

    should of just did the college overtime rules. its the most fair way about everything. but tv is worried about if nfl will run to late and people will miss the bachelor.
    how sad

  10. ☻☼CBS, FOX, ESPN, NFLN nbc says: Mar 23, 2010 5:42 PM

    This is BS

  11. CapsLockKey says: Mar 23, 2010 5:42 PM

    I don’t know. If I’m a coach and have to kickoff first, I’d go for the onside every time. As long as you hold the other team to a FG you’re still in the game if you don’t recover.

  12. buddycianci says: Mar 23, 2010 5:43 PM

    I think the success rate for recovering anticipated onside kicks is less than 20%. It’s not a good gamble.

  13. HC says: Mar 23, 2010 5:52 PM

    If it works the coach that called it will be hailed as a genius that should be given coach of the year honors. If it backfires and the opponent drives for a touchdown the very same people will say he’s an arrogant moron who should be fired.

  14. AnnoyingKnowItAll says: Mar 23, 2010 5:57 PM

    This is nutz…

  15. Gr33nB@yF@n says: Mar 23, 2010 6:08 PM

    OK…but if the kicking team tries an onside kick and fails. Does that count as an opportunity to possess, then if the receiving team makes a field goal do they win?

  16. gurnblanston says: Mar 23, 2010 6:08 PM

    Oh how I hope that this year’s Super Bowl ends in OT with the kicking team recovering the onside kick and nailing a 17-yd FG!!! Screw you and your King jackass, Florio!!!

  17. Cannon says: Mar 23, 2010 6:36 PM

    I’m with Ziggy I don’t like it. Why not just say the first team to six points wins and call it a day?
    To say a safety wins it or failure to recover an onside kick means you can lose on a field goal is ridiculous. This post is coming from a diehard Vikings fan who has the “SCAR TISSUE ON HIS SOUL” from two overtime NFC championship game loses by field goal.
    P.S. this rule should from now on be known as the Brett Favre rule. The competition committee and the owners came together and decided that the Saints NFC championship game win was bull shit. Mr. Florio please help me champion the idea that the Aints Super Bowl victory should have an astericks by it. It already cleary does in the eyes of the owners and the competition committee.

  18. evilboy128 says: Mar 23, 2010 6:40 PM

    the changes in the overtime rules effectively ends the need for defensive football in overtime. Just remember, when the sh*t hits the fan because of these changes, I KNOW I will have Florio and Peter King of SI and their endless moaning to blame!!!

  19. Jumbotron84 says: Mar 23, 2010 6:42 PM

    I would say with that interpretation teams will use it as a strategy often.

  20. xsiteable says: Mar 23, 2010 7:11 PM

    What if Team A receives the ball first in OT, drives down to the 30 and throws an interception, then Team B fumbles the ball on the INT return, and Team A recovers. Can they now kick a FG and win the game?

  21. goJags says: Mar 23, 2010 8:35 PM

    ….
    “Some of you have asked what happens if a team recovers an onside kick on the first kickoff of overtime.”
    ….
    Congrats to the “Some of you” from bringing this. Good football/analytic thinking.

  22. GoBrowns19 says: Mar 23, 2010 9:07 PM

    I thought Claussen was having trouble with his overtime onside kicks because his toe wasn’t as strong as he’d like.

  23. Buschman says: Mar 23, 2010 11:16 PM

    @ Rosenthal.
    Unless the rules have changed regarding this, The kicking team cannot advance the ball when they recover an onside kick, so there could not be a walkoff victory

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