Two years ago, I loudly supported the idea that sudden-death overtime places too much emphasis on the coin flip.
And so the adjustment of the postseason overtime rule was a welcome change, even though I still think that, in a playoff game, the team that kicks off should have a chance to match a touchdown scored by the team that has the first possession.
That said, I’m not sure that the elimination of sudden death is the best way to deal with overtime in a regular-season game.
It will make the regular-season games longer, by extending any game in which the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a field goal on the first drive. Longer games aren’t necessarily an issue in the postseason, since the gap between the starting times is a full 3.5 hours. In the regular season, it means that some early games will stretch too far into the 4:15 p.m. ET contests and, even worse, that some late-afternoon games will infringe on too much of NBC’s Football Night in America.
Also, longer regular-season games result in more opportunities for player injuries.
Also, there will be more ties, which can wreak havoc on the standings and the playoff possibilities.
Then there’s the fact that last season’s adjustment in the kickoff point, from the 30 to the 35, makes it less likely that the team that wins the coin toss will return the kick to the 40, string together a couple first downs, and win the game on a 50-yard field goal.
So, while I still support the current rules in the postseason, I’m not so sure I like applying the rule to the regular season.
For more analysis of that rule change and the other rules that were, or weren’t changed, he’s the opening segment of Wednesday’s PFT Live.