Nine-point overtime win is possible under new rules

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.

49 responses to “Nine-point overtime win is possible under new rules

  1. Totally foresee this scenario screwing me over on a game where I take an 8-point underdog.

  2. You got your stupid wish, can you stop hammering it in to the faces of the people that hate it? Namely 95% of the fans!

  3. So if the first team to get the ball scores a field goal… then the second team to get the ball throws an interception, but then forces the player who intercept the ball to fumble, and team 2 recovers the ball… they don’t get to continue play as normal? They lose the game unless they score on the fumble recovery?
    This overtime reformation just keeps getting more retarded.

  4. Why is this only for playoff games? Why not regular season too? That doesnt make much sense.

  5. I almost never comment on this site, even though I visit it more often than Google and Wikipedia combined (which is amazing). However, I have to give you guys a lot of credit. I love that you went so in-depth into the minutiae of the rules. Nowhere else would I find this level of detail about a rule so quickly after it was made official. As an avid fan of your site (although not of your attacks on Brett, who’s a God among men), I’m impressed. Solid, solid reporting.

  6. First of all its called “The play” not a Stanford band finish.
    Second of all, because of this random situation, I would bet good money that this happens this season in the playoffs.

  7. “If you force a turnover, get down or out of bounds.”
    how about secure the ball but try to score and end the game or get in position for a field goal which would also win the game?

  8. What if the 1st team gets a field goal, then 2nd team gets a field goal, and then 1st team scores a touchdown? That’d be a 9 point win right?

  9. The interesting thing about this actually is the betting implications.
    When a game goes into overtime and a team is say -6.5 or more, it’d be impossible for them to cover, but now it looks like it may be possible.
    Even now teams usually opt for a field goal in their first possession they get it first and rarely go for a TD, this will encourage TD’s so lines of 3.5 or greater are more likely to hit too.

    The team who wins the coin toss on the first possession and is driving and on the way to the endzone is intercepted at the 5 the interceptor starts returning it BUT fumbles the ball losing it on his own 10 yardline. The coin toss winning team then immediately kicks a field goal on the next scrimmage. They win the game by 3 and the other team never got an offensive play.
    These owners are complete morons, that is why they didn’t want their coaches or anyone to have any input. Only great football experts like these lawyers or movie men such as Steve Tisch are to set the future course of NFL football.
    Bring on 3D glasses, computers at the seats, seat licensed seats, lockouts, replacement players, how about having 1 point “rouge” like in Canadian football.
    The NFL needs to change its rules, it has no popularity, fans don’t like and never watch NFL football, let Goodell, Mara, Tisch, Jerry Jones save the sport!

  11. wheww, thanks….now go, ask, find, and tell me what happens if neither team scores before overtime is over. Does it just start over with another coin-flip, or does the team that received in the first overtime kick-off? Or does it go into a straight, old-fashioned, sudden death format for the second overtime? Or should they just have a clock ticking forwards instead of backwards since there’s really no point in having a clock in playoff overtime?

  12. Florio, the Chargers would have still beaten the Colts in OT in the wild card playoffs in 2009 under the new format! So go cry another river for Peyton Manning not getting a chance to get on the field.

  13. Come on Florio, do you really expect these dudes to get their heads around the complexities of such a ruling…. Their attention span peaked around the time that you posted the photo of the cheerleader in the Raider Running Back story….

  14. DIsapointed you didn’t provide a link to the Stanford band finish. I never get tired of that.

  15. I love football. I love understanding the nuances of every single rule. But this typifies on of the reasons why it is so difficult for it to make it out of America. The laws of the game are unnecessarily complicated.
    If you don’t want a draw, then just play an extra 7-10 minute period. Simple. Equitable. Easily understandable. Keeps all the factors of the game (especially field position and clock management) in play.
    That said, I suppose perfection shouldn’t get in the way of improvement.

  16. Goodell is an ASS. Plain and simple. Just remove the stupid tie column while you are at it.
    The refs are going to have a blast this season.

  17. 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.
    Now I’m no math wizard or anything..
    but wouldn’t that be winning by 6?

  18. Ok, so I receive the kick off, on my second offensive play I throw an interception that is returned for 10 yards, and during the tackle the defender fumbles and I recover. I start my “new” drive and kick a field goal, is the game over?

  19. If there was a 9 point overtime game, then you Liberals would want to change the rules again.
    There was no fan interest in changing the overtime rules in the first place.
    You won’t be happy until some unnamed NFL bureaucrat/dictator decides all instant replay decisions in every game.
    I don’t understand your enthusiasm for doing everything the old Soviet way.

  20. Those who were against Health Care Reform have nothing to complain about now… so they have focused their attention on overtime.
    Here is a serious question. What if the kickoff is recovered by the kicking team? Does that count as a possession by the receiving team?
    Also… if a kickoff or punt is bobbled and lost but never fully possessed?

  21. the league knows this is a crappy OT system, and they want it that way – it’s a stepping stone. they know once there’s a system that improves on sudden death, people won’t stop there.
    Right now the union is against a full OT period, but it will get there eventually, and it’s the only right way

  22. Change without improvement.
    There should not be overtime in the regular or pre seasons. Including ties in the record would limit the use of the ridiculous tie breaking procedures for playoff slots. Also reduces injuries.
    In post season, play a full quarter, then another if needed. These artificial changes to the end game open the door for too much gamesmanship.
    Play the game to win.

  23. They should call this the Favre rule because it is being implemented due to some Viking supporters who feel that Favre should have gotten another chance to throw an INT, this time in OT.
    That said, I could easily foresee the Vikings making the playoffs, choke their way into OT and then allowing BrINT Favre to throw another INT and my question is, “Are you happy now?”

  24. Wrongo says:
    March 24, 2010 5:18 AM
    Wouldn’t it be winning by eight? I see no reason for an extra point attempt.
    Let me guess. You’re a Cowboy’s or Steelers fan. . .

  25. Reading these comments makes us all dumber.
    The defense, already up by 3, can force a turnover and stop the play to immediately win the game.
    The offense, already down by 3 and having turned the ball over, must then force a turnover on the current play (i.e., before the defense can stop the play and immediately win the game, as above)and score to touchdown to win by 3. Offense is down by 3, scores 6 points, and wins by 3.
    If the offense is able to force a turnover, but does NOT score a touchdown on this ridiculously intricate play, the game is immediately over because the defense is winning by 3, the offense had their one possession and was unable to score. The offense does not get to start their next possession. (Note that with this situation in regulation time, the offense would start with the ball and a first down, i.e., a new possession.)

  26. Okay, I would like to go on record stating that I love this change to overtime.
    I had been steadfastly opposed to OT change. But this satisfies my need for suspense on every play and satisfies my need to see the best team (not the luckiest team) win.

  27. What about this?
    The first team (team 1) to get the ball scores a FG. The other team (team 2) now gets the ball and turns the ball over on their possession. But during the same play, the other team (team 1) coughs up the ball. Now it’s team 2’s possession, but technically, it’s a new possession, right? In regulation, no matter where this occurred, team 2 would have a first down. Does that end the game, or does team 2 get the ball again with a full possession?

  28. how about a 10 or 12 minute OT quarter and whomever has the most points wins …. how simple is that
    Bet the state of Minnesota has a rule/law in place that will not let this new OT rule apply to any Queenies games played in MN …. and the HOMER judge they have will rule in their favor like in all the other rulings

  29. @Boomer
    The rule as I read it says a defensive score ends the game…so I take that to mean a safety would end it.

  30. @Levito: you just decribed the exact scenario that Florio explained.
    “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.”

  31. Adam says:
    March 24, 2010 2:16 AM
    What if the 1st team gets a field goal, then 2nd team gets a field goal, and then 1st team scores a touchdown? That’d be a 9 point win right?
    Not sure if you dropped out of school in 1st grade, but the OT scoring would go 3-0, 3-3, 9-3 in that situation (no extra point). Don’t know where you came up with a 9 point win there.

  32. Ya’ll left out another situation that, while a bit nonsensical, is theoretically possible:
    Team A receives the opening kick off of overtime and scores a field goal.
    On the ensuing kick Team A onside kicks and recovers that kick. Team B STILL has not had a possession yet so the game continues (if I understand the rules correctly.)
    If Team A scores a touchdown that is a 10 point lead going into a kickoff to Team B who has no mathematical way to win.

  33. @cajundop:
    Although not covered specifically in this post, the onsides kick was covered in a previous post. A kickoff, whether recovered by the kicking team or receiving team, is considered a possession for the receiving team.

  34. Yeah, this system is soooooooooo much better .
    No one can POSSIBLY get “unfairly screwed” in a situation like this.
    Fairness? lmao, Florio should work in DC.

  35. Get A Job says:
    Reading these comments makes us all dumber.
    The defense, already up by 3, can force a turnover and stop the play to immediately win the game.

    but the play is not over until it is over. and if the ball is fumbled or intercepted into or in the opposing endzone before the play is whistled over then the 3 the first team scored can become 9 – plain and simple math.
    note- someone else posted above that he must think a field goal now will be worth 2 points as he thinks 2 plus 6 = 8 points.
    his math skills are very lacking

  36. Hope your happy Flouride, now the OT is more convoluted than ever, great job, you should run for congress. You know what’s gonna happen, there will be no OT games in the playoffs next year but there will be big games in the regular season that determine who gets in the playoffs that will go into OT, but because this crazy OT rule doesn’t apply to the regular season some teams and fans will make a big stink about it and complain that the new rule should apply to the regular season as well… good grief.
    The best thing about all this change is that its making it more and more obvious the real solution is to put more time on the clock and continue to play football!

  37. I doubt you’d see this much. I would hope any defender would be advised by their coach that they’d simply take a knee after a turnover in this kind of situation. No need to risk turning the ball back over trying to return it for a TD.

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