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With 2011 playoffs, overtime rules change

Adam Vinatieri AP

The first non-sudden death overtime in NFL history could be coming this weekend.

The league’s new postseason overtime rules are now in effect, meaning a field goal on the first possession of overtime doesn’t end the game. Instead, if the team receiving the overtime kickoff kicks a field goal on the first drive, the other team would have a chance to either tie the game with a field goal (at which point it would be sudden death from there) or win the game with a touchdown. A touchdown or safety at any point in overtime would win the game.

So will the new rule make teams more or less likely to play for overtime? And could it make teams decide to kick, rather than receive, at the start of overtime?

We won’t really know until we see playoff overtime, but Saints coach Sean Payton said today that it could make him handle late-game strategy differently.

“I think you’ll pay attention to how the game is progressing,” Payton said. “How the first four quarters have gone would predicate your decision on how you would handle it.”

So we’ll have to wait and see whether it makes a difference if one of the 11 postseason games ends with the new and (the league hopes) improved overtime.

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28 Responses to “With 2011 playoffs, overtime rules change”
  1. mikeyhigs says: Jan 3, 2011 8:45 PM

    Since a TD ends the game, you have to take the ball.

  2. nfl4ever says: Jan 3, 2011 9:02 PM

    Typical Knee-Jerk reaction by the NFL.

  3. cantarguefacts says: Jan 3, 2011 9:07 PM

    is it really so wrong to just do what college and High schools do? Both teams have a chance from the 25yd line. There is no reason that the NFL couldnt give each team the ball on their own 30 or something. Or guarantee a kickoff to both teams. Idk, these new rules are stupid just like the sudden death

  4. smacklayer says: Jan 3, 2011 9:10 PM

    “And could it make teams decide to kick, rather than receive, at the start of overtime”

    Why on earth would you kick? If you have a chance to win, why give to the other team to have that chance. Someone please give me a scenario where you would choose to kick??

  5. cometkazie says: Jan 3, 2011 9:50 PM

    The NFL is only interested in getting the game over. Otherwise, they would have a system like amateur ball uses.

    It’s all about $$$, not fairness or competition.

  6. kam187 says: Jan 3, 2011 9:52 PM

    A scenario where you kick is you are Norv Turner and you play so conservatively that kicking is the best option because you do not want to offend your opponent. Once they score a touchdown, you have Rivers hand it off 4 times to Tolbert and gain 8 yards and call it a game. Then you proceed to get a contract extension from Dean Spanos

  7. jeffovikes says: Jan 3, 2011 9:55 PM

    Good Gravy… just switch to college style so we can all enjoy the game.

  8. imjinbrdgr says: Jan 3, 2011 10:23 PM

    One scenerio would be where if you are Marty Mornhinweg.

  9. theoriginalcaptainmarvel says: Jan 3, 2011 10:28 PM

    One year too late for my team. The Vikings got screwed last year.

  10. trickbunny says: Jan 3, 2011 10:41 PM

    “, if the team receiving the overtime kickoff kicks a field goal on the first drive, the other team would have a chance to either tie the game with a field goal (at which point it would be sudden death from there) or win the game with a touchdown.”

    So does that mean that once the first team gets a FG, if the 2nd team goes 3 and out (or 4 and out, presumably), that it’s over?

  11. jimmysee says: Jan 3, 2011 10:50 PM

    However the game has been going for you — it has also pretty much been going the same way for the other team — otherwise, it would NOT be a tie and heading for overtime!

    Can’t see giving the ball to the other team if I won the toss!

  12. sowcrates says: Jan 3, 2011 10:54 PM

    cantarguefacts says:
    Jan 3, 2011 9:07 PM

    is it really so wrong to just do what college and High schools do?

    ——————

    Yes, yes it is.

    The #1 agenda of the NFL’s in setting its overtime rules should be for the gameplay to be as close as possible to gameplay during the first 4 quarters.

    Putting the ball at the 25 yard line negates special teams, negates the field position battle, negates a defense’s ability to play deep coverage and challenge a QB or a team’s running game to try and be methodic and pick up 4 yards or more consistently every play or face 4th down and have to punt.

    I for one am a fan of the new overtime rule. It doesn’t really change a whole lot, it only changes teams winning OT games with a 40+ yard field goal on the first possession where an offense getting to the 30 yard line wins a game, and that’s what should be nullified.

    Look at this year in OT, I think less than 50% of the coin-toss winners actually won the overtime game. Of that less-than-half body, not an overwhelming number of them even won on their first possession.

  13. freedomispopular says: Jan 3, 2011 11:15 PM

    I don’t see what was wrong with the rule the way it was. Beat the other team during regulation or risk losing the coin toss in overtime. And if the other team wins the coin toss…stop them. What’s so unfair about that?

  14. coachstram says: Jan 3, 2011 11:34 PM

    Its about freakin time, still bewildered as to why it doesnt apply to regular season.

  15. ilovefoolsball says: Jan 3, 2011 11:40 PM

    Why are you quoting Sean Payton? The Saints will be one and done this year.

  16. kisstherings says: Jan 4, 2011 12:00 AM

    This is a great rule change that only enhances the game. As stated above, it doesn’t change much – just the element that a team winning the coin toss doesn’t win on a long field goal after only gaining 20-30 yards after a decent return.

    I love this rule change. Hope they make it effective for the regular season next year.

  17. titanswin says: Jan 4, 2011 12:26 AM

    I’m sorry but i really like the rule….it is awful to watch a team fight all year to get to the playoffs and let it all be decided by a coin flip….i really do see the argument that ” the defense can stop it” totally! But as a true fan of the game i really like the rule.

  18. skulz fontaine says: Jan 4, 2011 12:34 AM

    And in “secret” 2011 NFL negotiations, (of course barring an actual 2011 season without a ‘lockout’) the NFL has “decided” to change the ‘playoff rules’ once again. Beginning the “playoffs” early 2012, the quarterbacks of tied-at-the-end-of-regulation playoff teams, will simply have a face punching contest at the end of “regular” game time. The “last” QB standing will “win” the big game and team moves on in the playoffs. Knocked-out QB of playoff teams will of course be “knocked out” of further playoff consideration. Thank you and end of transmission…Roger Goodell.
    You know, on account of Goodell sending out emails to “all” NFL fans reassuring the fans, “yes oh hell yes there will be NO lockout in 2011 and we’ll have a season even IF we have to get us ‘replacement players’. Yeah yeah, sure sure…

  19. trimgod69 says: Jan 4, 2011 12:57 AM

    So does that mean that once the first team gets a FG, if the 2nd team goes 3 and out (or 4 and out, presumably), that it’s over?

    thats the way I take it !

  20. tommytd says: Jan 4, 2011 2:35 AM

    A scenario where you kick is you are Norv Turner and you play so conservatively that kicking is the best option because you do not want to offend your opponent. Once they score a touchdown, you have Rivers hand it off 4 times to Tolbert and gain 8 yards and call it a game. Then you proceed to get a contract extension from Dean Spanos
    =============================
    Amazing…that almost sounds like the way his brother Ron used to call plays in Chicago! They’ve got conservative play calling in their DNA. Yuck.

  21. phillyforlife says: Jan 4, 2011 7:41 AM

    Donovan McNabb quote on this ” After 11 years I learn the over time rules now this, Im so confused thank god Im not in the post season”

  22. pghburgher says: Jan 4, 2011 7:46 AM

    How about Play Football the way it used to be played no sudden death play to win until someone wins no skirts on Qb’s. Big Hits get Big Cheers not Big Fines. And tell Roger Goodell that little Bar in Washington Pa he worked at in College Doesn’t want him back.

  23. kcfanatic says: Jan 4, 2011 7:53 AM

    If its really windy then you choose the direction. The other team will either choose to kick to you(not likely since it would be into a stiff wind giving you great field position), or receive and then hopefully either have to punt or try a field goal into the wind.

  24. pocketsstraight says: Jan 4, 2011 8:39 AM

    @cantarguefacts — Yes it is because that rule is dumb… it has nothing to do with the game of football.

    @sowcrates — Amen, Ditto

    I only have one problem with the new rule…. It is being tested at the most critical phase, the playoffs. They should have put this rule in play and had it for the entire season. That way we’d know whether there are any bugs/ kinks to work out. It seems pretty straight forward, but you never know.

    As to the question, “why would you ever kick”. 72% of drives in the NFL do not end in scores. 83% of drives off of kickoffs do not end in scores, (78% if you include kickoffs returned for TDs). 58% of drives end with the other team having better field position than the typical position after a kickoff. The expected field position after a kick off is the 26 +or- 10 yards (+or- = 2 stdev). Typical field position after a unsuccessful drive (i.e. one that doesn’t end in a field goal) 34 +or- 14.

    Which means that 55.1% of the time you will get the ball between the 20 and the 48 if you kick first.

    If you receive, you get the ball between the 16 and the 36 with a 22% chance of scoring.

    If you play out all the scenarios, you have a 28% of winning the game if you receive, and a 26% if you kick. What this does not consider is the strength of your defense or game flow.

    I would still receive (although statistically there is no difference), but there is a strong argument to kick, especially if you have a strong defense.

    The other argument to make is that you can defer and choose a side in the new overtime. If the wind is brutal in one direction, the difference is negligible, so you defer.

  25. ddoubleday says: Jan 4, 2011 9:25 AM

    “Why on earth would you kick?”

    Going last can be an advantage; you know whether you need a FG or touchdown to win, or maybe it is OK to not get anything because you know you will get another chance.

    To choose to kick, you need to be confident that you can stop the other team from scoring a TD. Don’t kick to Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. But otherwise, going last is preferable.

  26. mka72206 says: Jan 4, 2011 10:09 AM

    The problem with this rule is that the team that loses the coin toss and is receiving the ball after the first OT FG has 4 downs to work with. The first team plays within the 3 down and punt/score paradigm whereas the second team can plan their playcalling knowing the have 4th down to use.

  27. dumbaseinstien says: Jan 4, 2011 3:34 PM

    This year is a joke when it comes to the NFL officials & management altering the NFL rules to appease special interest groups. There’s nothing wrong with the game as it has been played for 70+ years…leave it alone & enjoy. And, all you College fans who want the NFL to change should just stick to Saturdays & leave those of us who actually enjoy the better of the 2 alone!

  28. tbssic says: Jan 5, 2011 6:41 AM

    You know the old saying,,,,, “If it ain’t broke,,,, break it”.
    Do you think a longer game could possibly mean more commercials???? Or maybe it’s not about the money after all???

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