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Shorter overtime period sets the stage for more ties

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Get ready to kiss your sister more frequently.

The prospect of a 10-minute overtime period, coupled with the two-possession overtime rule, will result in more ties in the regular season.

Overtimes already are taking longer, given that the team that kicks off to start the period gets a possession if the first team to have the ball scores three points. That rule, which should have been adopted for the postseason only already is causing teams to play deeper into the fifth period during regular season games.

When the overtime rule was changed seven years ago, NFL coaches apparently wanted that rule to apply for all games because they wanted to avoid having different rules for the regular season and for the postseason.

So, of course, the solution to longer overtime periods will be to adopt a different rule for the regular season and the postseason by reducing the length of the extra session to 10 minutes. Then again, the rules for the postseason already were different, given that in the playoffs the 15-minute sessions will continue indefinitely until someone scores.

The better approach would be to simply get rid of the two-possession rule for regular season games. This will increase one-possession overtimes (and in turn shorten the process) by allowing a team who wins the toss to kick a field goal and walk away.

In the postseason, the two-possession rule not only should survive but also be expanded to guarantee a second possession regardless of whether the team receiving the opening kickoff scores a field goal or a touchdown. If the league is willing to have different regular-season rules by reducing overtime to 10 minutes, why not ditch the two-possession rule under the single-elimination rounds?

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41 Responses to “Shorter overtime period sets the stage for more ties”
  1. macjacmccoy says: Mar 20, 2017 4:21 PM

    Horrible idea. This isn’t the NBA or baseball where each game doesn’t really matter. This is the NFL where 1 extra loss can make your entire season worthless. So doing anything that takes the result out of the teams hands and putting it on the flip of a coin is bad for the sport.

    And don’t give me the other team gets to play defense non sense. That would matter 20 years ago Before the game effectively legislated away defense in favor of more scoring. In the modern NFL it’s much harder to play defense then it is to score on offense. So the team who wins the coin toss gets an extremely unfair advantage.

    Anyway very rarely has the rule change led to more then 1 extra possession for the teams in overtime. So why change it?

  2. kepickle says: Mar 20, 2017 4:22 PM

    they should have never changed it to start with

  3. patriotsticketssince1978 says: Mar 20, 2017 4:23 PM

    Why not ruin the game altogether?

  4. bertilfox says: Mar 20, 2017 4:27 PM

    The OT rule is perfect as-is. If you can’t prevent a TD…you lose. There is getting to the tipping point with all of this “More Football More Football More Football”. At some point the game has to end, players need the time to recover and so do fans…to a lesser extent.

  5. ee00ee says: Mar 20, 2017 4:30 PM

    This really is a bad move on their part. In my opinion they should go the opposite direction and make it unlimited time so the game is concluded only with a victory.

    While they’re at it they should also be altering the first possession rules at present. It should be both teams guaranteed 1 possession regardless if the first scores a touchdown or not. Make it sudden death AFTER each team has had the ball.

  6. redsoxu571 says: Mar 20, 2017 4:30 PM

    If you have an issue with longer games due to overtime periods, the solution isn’t to go back to “kick a FG – win the game”. If game length and keeping players healthy is the goal, DO AWAY WITH REGULAR SEASON OVERTIME ENTIRELY. The difference between a win and loss in the regular season is HUGE, so to me it would be better to essentially award a team a half-win each than it would to allow a team that has played the other evenly to lose on a quick FG.

    I’m not saying this is my preferred solution, but it seems better to me than going backwards would.

  7. knew8411 says: Mar 20, 2017 4:32 PM

    I will just say this….who’s complaining in the first place? If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

  8. thecatalinawinemixer says: Mar 20, 2017 4:32 PM

    It would be interesting to see a team have a 10 minute drive starting OT and miss a fg attempt as time expired. What would they do then, as far as the two possession rule? A 10 minute drive is much more probable than a 15 minute one.

  9. steelersteven says: Mar 20, 2017 4:32 PM

    I would like to see the college overtime. Way more exciting.

  10. hazmatt23 says: Mar 20, 2017 4:33 PM

    Why would they not go the college route where each team gets a possession from a set yard-line. If it’s tied after each team has 2 possessions, they must score a TD/go for 2. This will eliminate the kickoff, eliminate having to punt if we start from, say, the 30 yard line and lessen the likelihood of a tie.

  11. mattbilleauthor says: Mar 20, 2017 4:41 PM

    Scrap the whole thing during the regular season. A tie is a tie. We have tiebreakers in place for teams finishing with identical records and this will be unaffected by whether a team has a tie game or two on its record. There’s no need for OT until the playoffs.

  12. btheballs says: Mar 20, 2017 4:42 PM

    college o.t. ball set at 30 for extra point. field goals 50. kickers might start earning money.

  13. mmack66 says: Mar 20, 2017 4:44 PM

    They should just do best 2 out of 3 coin flips to determine the winner.

    Brought to you by Draft Kings.

  14. mmack66 says: Mar 20, 2017 4:46 PM

    mattbilleauthor says:
    Mar 20, 2017 4:41 PM

    Scrap the whole thing during the regular season. A tie is a tie. We have tiebreakers in place for teams finishing with identical records and this will be unaffected by whether a team has a tie game or two on its record. There’s no need for OT until the playoffs.

    Ties are un-American.

  15. sdelmonte says: Mar 20, 2017 4:47 PM

    Get rid of ties with penalty kicks!

  16. rhamrhoddy says: Mar 20, 2017 4:52 PM

    You know what? It’s too easy. Tie score at the end of regulation? Three words: Duck. Duck. Goose.

    Expand the rosters by 2 or 3 and then when you’re all tied up after 4 quarters, you’re declaring a winner mere moments later.

    You greatly reduce any chance of injuries and it’s a good way to get young kids to start watching the sport. Not to mention, you instantly beef up the skills competition for next years Pro Bowl.

    You’re welcome.

    I’m going back to my lab now.

  17. 345snarkavenue says: Mar 20, 2017 4:54 PM

    no game should end in a tie. that being said, some games/teams are so bad that a tie is like having a mercy rule, for viewers.

  18. bobnyjets says: Mar 20, 2017 4:56 PM

    How about we just go back to no OT in the regular season and sudden death in the post season?

    Win it in 60 minutes or live with the consequences of not being able to do so.

    Now coaches play for a tie at the end of the game to force OT.

  19. torgow says: Mar 20, 2017 4:56 PM

    “knew8411 says:
    Mar 20, 2017 4:32 PM

    I will just say this….who’s complaining in the first place? If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”


    Usually the answer is Florio and/or King. Remember Florio wanted to change the NFL rules after a single 6-6 game occurred in the regular season. Yeeeaaahhh

  20. pastabelly says: Mar 20, 2017 5:16 PM

    A second possession even if a touchdown is scored on the first isn’t fair for a couple of reasons. I’ll go through the logic.

    (1) The team with the ball second CAN win the game with a field goal if it can cause the team with the ball first to punt.

    (2) The team with the ball second always knows what it has to accomplish and that it either has four downs to move the ball down field or three.

    (3) The team with the ball second will always have the wind at their backs.

    (4) All the team with the ball second has to do gain a maximum advantage is to hold the first team to a field goal or less.

    Just stop the team with the ball from scoring a touchdown. Is that too much to ask, even of the Falcons? The Patriots kind of won that game in regulation by wearing out the Falcons defense. In any case, that ending was how you want Super Bowls to end. It’s much better than ending on field goals.

  21. drunkraider says: Mar 20, 2017 5:22 PM

    We dont need more ties and shorter OT will make that happen.

    Ties need to be removed.

  22. pastabelly says: Mar 20, 2017 5:31 PM

    Here’s a good thing about ties. They eliminate tie breakers in division and wild card standings.

  23. dvdman123 says: Mar 20, 2017 5:32 PM

    They should adapt the college rules and avoid ties altogether. College OT is easily the best.

  24. MannamedJay says: Mar 20, 2017 5:35 PM

    Play an extra quarter, period. Doesn’t matter who scores first, only who scores more. If at the end of that quarter the score is tied, its a tie. A tie is not so terrible. The league keeps talking about an 18 game season (an additional 8 quarters) but is against one extra quarter to decide a game? How many time would it be needed? Once or twice a year per team? So 1-2 extra quarters is bad, but 8 is OK? And why is a regular season game , that could determine whether a team gets in the playoffs, somehow less important than a playoff game? How many teams missed the playoffs by 1 game?

  25. jluckow says: Mar 20, 2017 5:36 PM

    How about this, for both regular and post season:
    1 – Both teams are guaranteed one possession.
    2 – If the team who gets the kickoff first fails to score on the first drive, it’s next-score-wins.
    3 – If said team gets a field goal, the opposite team still gets a possession but MUST go for the touchdown and win. No field goals to extend the game.
    4 – If said team gets a touchdown, they automatically receive the extra point. The opposite team then gets a chance to score a touchdown, but must go for two at that point.

    This results in both teams getting a possession while not risking teams trading a pair of field goals and extending the game.

  26. jluckow says: Mar 20, 2017 5:53 PM

    My idea above really only makes a couple changes to the current rule.

    1 – Untimed period.
    2 – If the opening team gets a field goal, the second team MUST go for a touchdown.
    3 – If the opening team gets a touchdown, they get the extra point awarded to them automatically. The second team then gets a chance to score a touchdown, but then MUST go for the two point conversion.

    It results in both objectives that fans want – both teams get a chance with the ball and NO TIES.

  27. buffaloboys says: Mar 20, 2017 6:04 PM

    Keep the rules as they are, but just eliminate FGs in OT. Must score a TD to win.

  28. upperdecker19 says: Mar 20, 2017 6:10 PM

    Somewhere…..Donovan McNabb is ultra confused over this….

  29. halfcentaur says: Mar 20, 2017 6:15 PM

    No, the overtime FG to win was the worst thing ever. Basically guaranteed whoever won the coin toss won the game. So anti-climatic and predictable.

    Instead of worrying about making it shorter (since it only happens like 1 in 100 games anyways) how about worrying about making it BETTER?

    Getting a 1st down and just kicking a FG to win a game is not better. But on the flip side, if you can’t stop a team from driving 80 yards right off the bat for a TD then you don’t deserve to get the ball back. I think the balance is just fine right now between doing too little and doing too much, and the college shootout style is too gimmicky. Takes away so many elements of the game.

    There’s no perfect answer but i actually like the current formula. Although if there was an adjustment to say that if the first possession was held to a FG, then the second possession is TD or bust, i think that would be good. No FG battles, no 15 min back and forth, force the other team to one-up instead of just matching each other kick for kick.

    But again, if you can’t stop a team from driving the entire length of the field on the first possession, then you don’t deserve to win anyways. Simple as that.

  30. denverscott says: Mar 20, 2017 6:18 PM

    Just make all score tallies at the end of the game equal and give both teams a participation ribbon. Signed, Stan Marsh.

  31. getyourownname says: Mar 20, 2017 6:31 PM

    Eh. Ties worked in the NFL for decades, and there are no more than a few each year anyway, so excuse me if I don’t go all drama queen over this supposed “issue”. Unlike Florio who seems to view everything as a a calamity of epic proportions.

    And all you good folks who write as thougg pro football is being destroued, just chill. You know, and we know, that you’ll be back in front of your TV in September.

  32. charliecharger says: Mar 20, 2017 6:52 PM

    If you don’t want your game to end in a tie, win the darn thing. This is a great rule. It should make everyone happy. It’s cuts down on time, and shorter games mean fewer injuries. Just one more reason why Roger Goodell is worth every penny of his $35 million annual salary.

  33. midnightcochise says: Mar 20, 2017 6:59 PM

    bring back sudden death OT

  34. cosmicredneck81 says: Mar 20, 2017 6:59 PM

    I’m just so fed up with all the tinkering I’m about done I’ve been a Sunday ticket subscriber ever since it came out no more if they’d have their way every single game would be a tie so no millennials feelings get hurt

  35. pillowflip says: Mar 20, 2017 7:20 PM

    Each team gets one offensive possession period. Regardless of everything else. If not, overtime is a joke. To say one team wins when the other team does not have a chance to answer, is only executing half the game and completely noncompetitive. I can not understand why this is so complicated.

  36. JSpicoli says: Mar 20, 2017 7:43 PM

    The good thing about jacking your rules up yearly is that after a while, you lose track and you begin to not care anymore. Kind of like a bad girlfriend.

    Extremely imperfect sport on downslope.

  37. ak185 says: Mar 20, 2017 8:49 PM

    They’re trying to make it short and fair at the same time. What’s their obsession with making overtime instant? No other sport has that. It’s like trying to make sweet tea sugar free. Nobody ends up satisfied.

    If they really wanted to make the games shorter, they could cut their commercial breaks. But I think we all know how eager they are to do that.

  38. stevecmh says: Mar 20, 2017 11:53 PM

    There’s a simple way to ensure shorter OT games and maintain fairness regarding possession of the ball. Eliminate the kick-off at the start of the overtime period.

    Why not make the start of the fifth quarter no different than the start of the fourth quarter? The change of quarter doesn’t affect possession of the ball. The first team to score in any fashion wins the game. All other OT rules apply.

    This approach eliminates the coin flip, kick-off and possible return, and rewards the team that possesses the ball at the end of the 60th minute. It also takes out the element of luck in the coin flip.

  39. footballisnotthatimportant says: Mar 21, 2017 5:12 AM

    AGAIN, the NFL is choosing to address problems that don’t exist.

    Here are the problems YOU NEED TO ADDRESS:
    1) amount and length of commercial “breaks”
    2) flags for “excessive celebration”
    3) flags for perfectly clean tackles on QBs and WRs
    4) allowing teams to play defense
    5) how badly the game is slowed down by this instant replay crap
    6) Officials missing calls despite taking 15 minutes to make a decision
    7) Eliminating Thursday Night football

  40. jo6pack says: Mar 21, 2017 11:41 AM

    Sudden death OT was always the better way to have this. EVERYONE GETS A CHANCE is too much like a participation trophy. Pretty sure teams have defenses for a reason.

    And for anyone who thinks Sudden Death leads to a high number of single-possession wins, the 2nd team to get the ball actually won a higher number of games in the last decade than the team that won the toss.

  41. madddogg365 says: Mar 21, 2017 12:24 PM

    The fix is almost in,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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