Overtime change could cause problems

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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.

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51 responses to “Overtime change could cause problems

  1. If it’s good enough for the postseason, it’s good enough for the regular season. Longer games mean I can spend more time on my couch on Sunday afternoon and Carl Gerbschmidt can have three more beers.

  2. While it’s true we’ll see longer overtime games that stretch into the following games time slot, the NFL has demonstrated that it doesn’t give a damn about television viewers anyway (see blackouts).

  3. Not a fan of the nfl continuously tinkering with what has been fine for a really long time.

  4. Why don’t they just do a shortened overtime quarter? Say ten minutes, two timeouts, replays by the booth, and whoever wins wins; if it’s a tie than its a tie.

  5. “even worse, that some late-afternoon games will infringe on too much of NBC’s Football Night in America”

    I have a feeling that if NBC had the MNF game that wouldn’t be an issue.

  6. Why do you think the television contract was so high? More time for NFL equals more money from advertisement. It’s not a game anymore, it’s a business to the extreme.

  7. Not to mention, can you imagine how often Sunday Ticket 4:15 games would get stepped on? I quit Sunday Ticket for that reason 5 years ago. Nether DirecTv nor the NFL wants to be responsible for having half of the first quarter of a game you want to see from being stolen from you by some half-wit at a local affiliate who, at 4:10, switches to some game not even televised in that market, in overtime, bumping the 4:15 game that’s supposed to be on.

  8. I still support a 10 minute overtime period…I think the urgency of the OT period would produce a winner in 10 minutes nearly every time…..if at the end of a second OT period the score remains tied, then call it a tie…….but until the NFL goes to a regulation OT period OT is just a video game…..

  9. I know I’m in the minority, but I have no problem with “ties.” The NFL isn’t like soccer where trying to stretch the game for 30 minutes to try to preserve a tie is a feasable strategy. MAYBE the last three minutes of OT, but by that point the new rules won’t have had an effect because both teams will have most likely held the ball at least twice anyway.

    There’s been a grand total of two ties in the last fourteen seasons (Falcons-Steelers in 2002 and Eagles-Bengals in 2008.) I don’t think NFL fans are going to start rioting if one game ends in a tie every 2-3 seasons.

  10. furthermore, I think the prospect of playing a 2nd 10 minute OT period would have the majority of coaches playing to win in that 1st period……very few coaches will want to play a 80 minute game…….thus the urgency of a 10 minute period could make those 10 minutes thrilling football…….also, who’s to say that some of these prospective 70-80 minute games (as few of them as there would be) might not be big ratings winners and could also become instant classics, of which I think the NFL would welcome during the regular season……

  11. I couldnt disagree with you more. The rule needed to change. luck of a coin flip should have little to do with the winner. I hate overtime games that end on a field goal. garbage.

  12. oh, and if we are worried about length of games we should address replay times, commercial times and halftime, dead time not the overtime rule which might actually lead to more real game time.

  13. The defensive team does get paid when the game goes to overtime right? So why are they rewarding a team for playing lousy defense. They are professionals, and professionals are held to a higher standard. Want to win in OT, here’s a novel idea, STOP the other team from scoring!!

    New rules are ridiculous. Grow a set.

  14. If the first team scores a TD, the second team shouldn’t have another shot to match.

    Nobody wants to see an overtime game end with a TOD on their own 35 yd line. Its better when a game ends with a score.

  15. I disagree that the games will become substantially longer and/or end in more ties. If I’m a head coach with a great kicker and a sound defense, I kick that opening FG if I win the toss – then I tell my kicker to launch that ball into the stands on the ensuing kickoff… don’t even let the returner think about a 109-yarder… then I tell my defense “4-and-out and we hit the shower” (because they will go on 4th down to maintain possession).

    The biggest problem with these OT rule changes is they forget the defense is getting paid too. You didn’t win the toss and want the ball to score? Play defense and stop the other team. It’s just that simple.

  16. So, this is news for the sake of news… poorly researched to boot.

    The only games that will be extended are the ones with opening drive field goals.

    Only 28% of all overtime games have been one possession games. The 30 yard line kickoff placement from 1994 – 2010 inflated the 28% of one possession games (not all of which were won by FGs).

    So, yes, SOME games will be longer, but overall it will not be dramatic.

    There have been 17 ties since 1974. I would really be interested in knowing how ties wreak havoc on standings and playoff possibilities? It is simply another variable to contend with…

  17. I’d have to know how many games go into overtime to determine if it’s an issue. I found at cursory glance that 19 regular season OT games were played in 2010 season and only two games were won in the first possession (both field goals) leaving both teams an opportunity a chance to touch the ball. So I agree that reg season games should stick with the original rules and the playoff games, with more implications and less “stacking” potential, should stick with the same rules.

  18. Remember that time I cried about that thing two years ago? I’ve cried about a lot of other things, too. This is the latest thing I’m going to cry about.

  19. Gee, why am I not surprised a lawyer lobbies for a change, gets it, then doesn’t want it because now it infringes on some other aspect he would be directly affected by? And how many games did that happen this past year? The snorefest of Patrick, Harrison, Dungy, I lived without and can continue to live without so nothing lost there either.

  20. Mike you push your agenda a little too much. Nobody cares, overtime is extremely rare in the regular season. Less opinions more reporting.

  21. Games that stretch into the following game’s timeslot are only a problem if YOUR favorite team is playing in the 2nd game. But there’s a solution to that too. The NFL could do what MLB does in the posteseason when an early game runs long. For instance, if the game is on TBS they’ll start the next game on TNT until the first game is completed. So you can watch either game. The NFL may not have that flexibility, but I’m sure that something could be worked out if they really wanted to….short of everyone having DirecTV Sunday ticket, where each game is on a different channel anyway.

  22. Bad news for the tens of millions tuning in for what they thought would be 60 Minutes (except on the West Coast).

  23. @kire562000:

    Pete Prisco made the same backwards and wrong arguement as you. This doesn’t reward bad defense or make it irrelevant. This actually makes defense MORE important. Now teams that win the coin toss will be at least trying to score a TD instead of kicking a 35 yard field goal on 2nd and 7.

  24. I like the rule changes but like you I would like to see the kicking team have the ability to match a touchdown.

    I don’t think there are any time issues here. The current system is set up for one 15 minute period. If no one scores it’s tied. So the NFL has already allotted time for a whole 15 minute period.

    In the previous system, that did occur. Remember the Bungals game? Every OT game, past and present has the ability of going the full 15 minutes.

  25. The problem goes away if you eliminate it (overtime) altogether. What’s wrong with a tie anyway, unless it’s the playoffs (see below)? Hockey and Soccer cope with it – why do we ‘have’ to a clear winner & loser? Was it so bad before?

    During the regular season, adopt a point system like Soccer – three (3) points for a win, one (1) point for a tie and zero (0) points for a loss. Unlike Hockey where you only get two (2) points for a win, three (3) points gives an incentive to play for a win rather than a tie.

    During the playoffs, play two (2), five (5) minute periods, then if still tied after that, sudden death (as before).

  26. jesus, ppl bitch and complain no matter what. b&c about OT, they change it, you B& C about that. its just a stupid game. turn on the tv, stuff your face with brats and beer and complain about the team/coach/refs. just enjoy it

    shut up already.

  27. I don’t understand why more football, especially overtime football, is a bad thing….

  28. OT really is only needed for playoff games. Otherwise, a tie is EXACTLY the right outcome for a game where both teams score the same in 60 minutes. It actually makes strategy more interesting.

  29. Tropic purple. The NHL doesn’t live with a tie. There is a winner. Either int he 5 minute sudden death OT or in the shootout.

    The NFL has the possibility of a ties if no one scores any points int he 15 minutes allotted to OT. That has happened in recent memory.

  30. In case you forget or are too young, tie games aren’t new and they did just fine with the standings back then.

    Also, I’d vote for starting a new 5th quarter and playing through it. No sudden death. If it turns out to be a tie then so be it. With the no defense league that’s unlikely anyway.

    Coaches would have to weigh the ramifications of a tie on the field. They get paid millions to make those decisions so let them.

  31. I think it’s fun the way these networks have pre-game shows that last an hour and a half, list the start time of the game about 15-20 minutes before the game starts and think nobody notices. SNF is at 8:31…not 8:15, not 8:20; and it sure as hell isn’t at 7:00.Everything before that is meaningless fluff, the OT could go on forever and you wouldn’t miss a second of the Sunday night game.

  32. @myopinionisrighterthanyours

    You had 60 minutes to win the game and make up for NOT playing any defense. Now you want more time to NOT play any defense? Every football team is made of an Offense, Defense, and Special teams, if one fails to do it’s job, you loose. Why is that not fair? You had your chance 6o minutes ago.

  33. @kire562000:

    Your argument makes no sense. Are you saying that every game that goes to OT is because both teams aren’t playing defense? Must have missed the fact that games only go to OT if they’re 28-28, 31-31, etc.

  34. Solution for OT… very simple:

    Treat the end of regulation as if it is the end of a quarter.

    In other words, possession, field position, down and distance remains the same going into OT which would still be sudden death.

    If the team with the ball ends regulation in field goal position (which they earned), then OT may just be one play. If the team with the ball ends regulation 3rd and 18 on their own 4 yard line… then good for the defensive team which enters OT with an edge.

    How regulation ends is a situation earned on the field. The outcome would have nothing to do with a coin flip, you get a fair outcome, and you don’t keep prolonging the game with arbitrary rules so everyone gets a turn. You may not get a couple of hail marys over the course of the season (which 95% of the time are incomplete anyway) but you also won’t get teams kneeling on the ball to play it safe going into OT either. You’ll just get good strategic football every down in every close game.

  35. They should do it like the NHL. After the first overtime period they should have the NFL version of a shootout. One play at a time from the 2 yard line. First team to get more touchdowns than the other team wins. Now that would be exciting.

    It’ll never happen, but it would be fun.

  36. I also would rather the NFL just award a tie to both teams in the regular season. That’s the way it used to be.

    A tie in the W-L record here and there might mean that a 10-5-1 record beats a 10-6 record for the final playoff spot. That’s better than going to the 5th tiebreaker between two 10-6 teams.

  37. If the NFL is worried about length, how about cutting out commercials in OT? (I can dream can’t I?)

  38. I’m a lot more worried about early games interfering with the 4:15 games. Screw NBC’s Football Night in America, the show blows. Hell, I don’t even bother watching the games on NBC half the time either.

  39. Why play an overtime period? Just have a punt, kick and pass contest to decide a winner.

  40. Regular season play another quarter, if still tied goes in books that way. If playoff game play another full quarter, still tied its playoffs and somebody goes home so play another quarther

  41. In relation to some of the post on here, as far as no commericals in overtime. They do that in the NHL playoffs so I would see no problem with no commericals during overtime. I do think more ties can occur, because we know it will be a 15 minute quarter with 4th quarter timing rules, it could be possible that both teams make a fg and only 3 minutes left after the second team makes their fg. But also I think at time we might see less overtime games, because now we might see more teams even if not eliminated from the playoffs, but not in it meaning a team that is 2-7 scores a touchdown and is trailing 21-20, then if they know they are not going to the playoffs why not go for the 22-21 win.

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