So what happens under the new overtime rule if the team that receives the kickoff to start the process scores a field goal, kicks off, and forces a turnover?
It’s not as simple of a question as you might think.
A reasonable argument could be made that, because the other team’s possession ends at that point, the game ends at that point as well, with the defense leading (and winning) by three.
But this isn’t the same thing as a failed two-point attempt. The play is still alive and, in theory, the defensive team can return the ball for a touchdown, extending the final margin to nine points.
We ran the concept by the league office, and outgoing V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira said (via spokesman Greg Aiello) that the play would indeed continue until completion. So the team that scored the field goal on the first drive could score a touchdown and win by nine.
Which could be relevant, hypothetically, to some of the folks who watch football games.
Here’s where it gets even more intriguing.
If the defensive team turns the ball over while returning the turnover, the team that started the play on offense can then recover the ball and take it to the end zone for a touchdown, winning the game by three. If the offensive team fails to score a touchdown on that same play, the game ends.
The obvious message to the defense in such circumstances? If you force a turnover, get down or out of bounds. The game is won as soon as the play ends; any effort to extend the play will only increase the risk of the other team getting the ball back and unleashing a Stanford band finish.