Overtime rules still need to be tweaked

Getty Images

In the aftermath of the 2009 NFC title game, which the Saints won over the Vikings in overtime on a first-drive field goal, the NFL changed the overtime rules, allowing the game to continue if the team that receives the opening kickoff in the extra period scores only three points.

The game ends if the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown on the opening drive.  Which is what the Seahawks did to the Packers today.  Which should renew discussion and debate about potential improvements to the overtime rules.

Why is it not enough to win the game with a first-drive field goal but sufficient to do so with a touchdown?  It felt like a half measure when the NFL adjusted the rules five years ago.  Why not — especially in the postseason — give the Packers a chance to show that the can drive right down the field and score a touchdown, too?  Any other outcome leaves too much to the chance bounce of a coin.

Thoughts?  Opinions?  Ideas?  Proceed.

133 responses to “Overtime rules still need to be tweaked

  1. Sure, go ahead and give the other team a chance.

    But if they do get a TD they have to try to get a 2 pt conversion to win it.

    Fail on the two point conversion, game over.

  2. If you can’t stop the other team from scoring a TD in OT, you don’t deserve to win the game. It’s fine the way it is.

  3. ive always thought each side should get the ball 1 time no matter if 1st team scores TD. that should of been changed a decade ago.

    great game. still LMAO at packer fans. you guys are too funny. welp im sure you’ll do what the bears do and hibernate for the winter!!

  4. It’s better than it was before. But the only other option is the college format. That has made for some great college OT games! However, gotta start the possession further out… Maybe the 40??

  5. You had 60 minutes to establish a win and failed. If you give up a TD it means you yielded the entire field. Giving up a FG sometimes is just one or two 1st downs and a long kick. I don’t think the rules need to be tweaked again. Hate the idea, actually. This isn’t college anymore…

  6. Seems like football should take a page out of basketball and baseballs book. Sudden death is stupid and completely dependent on who wins the toss. I think college football has the right idea. Give each team the ball on the 30 and go back and forth until a winner is determined

  7. Kickers can kick 60+ yards, but the packer D had plenty of opportunity to hold them to a field goal or less! Rule is fair, only people think otherwise are sore packer fans

  8. Dude are you serious? Teams have a defense, use it! That was an amazing game and an incredible ending. Nothing needs to be changed.

  9. I’m not a fan of the current OT rules but GB did way more than enough to lose this game in regulation that it’s tough to argue they deserved a chance in OT.

  10. The overtime rule is as bad as Bostick’s hands or Slocum’s special teams coaching.

    Obviously not the reason the Packers lost, but this overtime rule seems like such an abbreviated finish to a really good football game.

    Sudden death sucks, why not play one full quarter in the playoffs?

  11. Offense is PAID to score! Defense is PAID to stop offense from scoring! What is not fair about that?!?! This is the Pros, not pee wee league! I like the old rule…whoever scores first, WINS!

  12. Should always give each team a chance to score. Only time you wouldn’t would be a safety or fumble/int for a td

  13. Because if your defense can’t keep the first team with the ball out of the end zone, you haven’t earned a chance to counter. Field goals are too easy nowadays. It’s perfectly simple. You’re over complicating it. One of the greatest comebacks in NFL history and this is your focus?

  14. Offense and defense are both important parts of the game. The idea behind changing the OT rule was that it was too easy for a team to drive 30 yards and end the game with a field goal. If they can get all the way down the field to get a touchdown, they earned it.

  15. I’d prefer to have the teams just continue playing…

    i.e. at the end of the fourth quarter, the team with possession retains the ball and we keep playing. First person to score wins.

  16. I dont get why one team has to EARN a possesion (by stopping other team from scoring a td) and the other team is GIVEN that opportunity by winning a coin toss

  17. people like this writer cried when Farve lost in this manner, now there is crying when Rodgers loses the same way.

    If you want to be taken seriously suggest something like this BEFORE the playoffs start and your favorite team/player loses because of it

  18. They should just play another quarter. If it’s still tied after that go to sudden death Or field goals like goal kicks but other players kick them. It would be fun watching Peyton and Brady kick FGs

  19. Vikings fans never cried for rule changes after they lost it the saints. Never. In fact, the Vikings owner voted against the new overtime rules. It should always be sudden deAth.

  20. I think the current rule is fine.

    We all agree that the luck of the coin toss determined too many OT wins by a first possession FG.

    Seattle completed an 87 yard TD for the win. As much as I dislike the team and their fans, my hat is off to them.

    Green Bay had the opportunity to win the game in regulation – but wasn’t able to do so – and settled for that long FG for a tie.

    Speaking of FG’s… If GB hadn’t settled for so many FG’s today, they might have won.

    The NFL already has too many rules. We need to simplify them, not make it more convoluted.

  21. play one quarter…whoever is winning at the end of the qurter is the winner…if its tied at the end of the 5th quarter, then its whoever scores next…

  22. Duel to the death with AK 47’s. Both teams facing each other from 10 yards away. If a coach or player refuses to duel, he must commit ritual Samarai harakiri with a knife to his own stomach.

  23. 4th and inches, 2 pt conversion, 3rd and 10 with a 2 man rush, and not securing an onside kick. That’s why we lost the game. Overtime is better then it was. Yeah I’d like to have had a chance. At the same time we can’t point to OT as the reason we lost. It was a great game.

  24. The first year these new overtime rules were introduced Tim Tebow (Tim Freakin’ Tebow) burned my Steelers on a touchdown play on Denver’s opening OT possession. We’ve never heard the end of it–and that’s fine.

    It’s considerably more difficult to score a TD than a FG, that’s why a TD is still sudden death. The college rules are like something out of Pee Wee where everyone wins a trophy. These are pros. I think they can handle it.

  25. Why not just extend the game by 8 minutes or so? If the game is still tied after that, you play a 7 minute sudden death and whoever got the ball first to start OT has to kickoff… which would in turn add a level of strategy for whoever wins the opening OT coin toss with what they chose to do.

  26. Seriously? Green Bay totally blew this game. The OT rules are perfect. If a defense cannot prevent a TD, they aren’t that good.

  27. Sports writers always need something to talk about. The Rule is fine the way it is. These are grown men who get paid a lot of $$$. Green Bay gave up 15 points in the last 4 min of the game. They gave up a 2 play TD in overtime. What’s the Rule have to do with that???

  28. I have never liked the sudden death overtime and although the revision is better but it seems the coin flip is still too important. Play a full quarter or give the other team 1 possession and then sudden death if still tied. At least that way all 3 phases have a chance to impact the game.

  29. Scoring TDs in the NFL is hard. If the other team wants a shot at the ball, they’ll keep them out of the end zone. They won’t leave single man-to-man coverage over and over again. Simple as that, and it’s the same when Seattle beat Denver earlier this year. Florio wants to change the rules whenever Seattle wins.

  30. God no, just stop. We don’t need to tweak it, if the defense ant stop the team from scoring a td, then they don’t deserve to win. Football is more than a game of offense. There’s nothing wrong with the current system

  31. This may not be the place for this but did anyone else see Marshawn Lynch wear his gold spike shoe 4th quarter? When he ran down the side lines to what looked like a touchdown but stepped out at the 9 the replay was showing Marshawn Lynch wearing a different shoes then the one he started with. Sure looks like the golden cleats to me.

  32. How about the Packers play defense and not allow Seattle to walk down the field and score a touchdown on the first drive of OT? How about the Packers keep playing football with 5 minutes to go in the game? How about the Packers not allow Seattle to recover the onside kick? This article sounds like it was written by a pretty sore Packer fan.

  33. I didn’t like when they changed it away from full sudden death. You don’t want to lose before you get the ball in OT, then play some defense and don’t let the other team score. So, I’m fine with the way it is now. .

  34. I think OT rule is fine. Team game. green Bay choked big time as a team. Coaches, offense, defense and ST all choked.

  35. Mike- you are absolutely right, the overtime rules do need to be tweaked. in no other field of human endeavor in which outcomes are purported to ‘matter’ are the processes by which those outcomes are determined intentionally infused with any, much less a significant, luck component. law, international affairs, healthcare, politics, business, to name just a few. in each of these fields no important outcomes are determined by institutionalized processes that are designed to include any luck component (much less the most overtly flippant luck component imaginable – the coin flip). judges do not decided cases, generals do not launch missiles, and doctors do not decide whether to operate based coin flips. if they did, they would be fired and/or jailed. sports do not involve life and death decisions. however, the nfl would like us to believe that the outcomes of its games do in fact matter. therefore, it should start acting like they do.

  36. No, because then the Packers would’ve had a SORT OF advantage by getting the ball second, in that they’d KNOW they needed a TD to keep the game going, since Seattle had already scored on their possession. This would give the Packers the advantage of knowing they have to go for it every time, so they’d get 4 Downs to keep the chains moving. In a way, that could be seen as an advantage for the Packers, the “second mover advantage”.

    Just leave it the way it is now.

  37. Awww, someone’s panties are in a bunch.

    Stop trying to fix stuff that was never broken, these are the rules…always have been.

    Maybe Green Bay shouldn’t have allowed Seattle to comeback…there’s a thought.

  38. Do you not get it? They want sudden death football. They are right, that’s exciting. Go for the TD.

    Winning on a first drive FG is not exciting. Too easy.

    And college rules are a joke!

  39. The NFL has a lot of things wrong. They have this right. You still keep the “sudden death” element, but you give the teams with “bend but don’t break” defenses a chance to defend themselves. Unfortunately, the Packers weren’t able to do that.

  40. I think what the author of this opinion is trying to say is that maybe each team should get a participation trophy so nobody’s feelings get hurt.

  41. I never thought it needed to be changed in the first place. Sudden death is absolutely fine. You had 60 minutes to beat the other team. First to score wins.

    But, if you want to say that both teams should have a chance to possess the ball, then they should no matter if it was a field goal or a touch down.

    Or just play a whole quarter with 4th quarter rules.

  42. Totally out of the box here:

    OT with no clock (except play clock).
    No kicks.
    No punts.
    Start at the 50.
    Gotta go for it on 4th down.
    Gotta go for two.
    Play til someone scores.
    Then the other team gets a chance to match it.
    If they don’t match it, game over. If they do, then go to another OT.

  43. The OT rules need to change. How is it fair to lose a game just because you let a team drive 86 yards on you with zero resistance in a sudden death situation?

  44. Yeah, because the team that could only score 1TD in 60 minutes despite short fields all day would have likely driven the field to keep the game going. Puh-lease. Funny when the loser is Manning (like earlier in the year) or Mr. Discount double check, everyone is up in arms. If Cam Newton or Andy Daulton lost this way in the playoffs, there would be crickets.

  45. Play a full 10 min overtime. Sudden death is that doesn’t settle it. The hell with whatever the TV sponsors have to say.

  46. Why don’t they get rid of the onside kick? This is one of the nfl’s stupidest rules. Why does the receiving team HAVE to field it when they kick it 10-15 yards but when they kick it to the 10 yard line the rules are different?

  47. Play the whole quarter.
    If there still is a tie, do like soccer (penalty kicks)
    Except penalty kicks will be field goal kicks.
    Start at the twenty yard line and then move back 5 or 1o yards for each subsequent kick until someone misses and the other kicker doesnt match.
    It will put a premium on having a great kicker.

  48. The reason is because it is so much easier to score a field goal. Under the old rules, as soon as a team was close to a field goal, they would just kick the field goal. Now they have a reason to keep playing and go for the TD. And if the opposing team plays well enough on defense to hold them to a FG, they are rewarded with a chance of their own.

    I may be in the minority, but I like the new rules. And I like them just the way they are.

  49. There was nothing wrong with the old rule. Teams winning the coin toss only won something like slightly over 50% of the time. The only fans that really bitched about OT games ending with a FG are those whose team was on the losing end, the winning fans were happy as hell to get a W. And there’s nothing wrong with the score a touchdown and the game is over either. What are they supposed to do keep matching touchdowns until the team that is the least tired or lucky wins? That’s ridiculous.

  50. The way it is now is not fair.

    However, it wouldn’t be fair if the second team knew they had to have a touchdown, they would of course use forth down.

    You need to either use some version of the college format, or use a clock. I understand that they don’t want to risk more injuries with the clock format, but it’s that or equal chances for each team.

  51. This is one of the whiniest, most pathetic issues that comes up every time. If you can’t score more points in 60 minutes of regulation, then you can’t stop the first drive from ending in a TD – stop crying and take your loss like a man. It’s mostly fans and media, but you all need to stop being crybabies.

  52. Nobody will read this, but go back to sudden death. This whole “every team gets a chance to touch the ball…” thing is just stupid. Maybe we should just hand out trophies to everybody while we’re at it?

  53. OT rules in the playoffs are fine as is. It’s one thing for a team to win the toss, go 40 yards and kick a FG.

    It’s another for the defensive to allow a TD or get a safety.

  54. Why should the Packers deserve a chance bc Vikings didn’t in 2009. Let it be or else league needs to go back and replay that 09 Championship again between Vikings and cheater Saints. We’ll take our chances with Teddy and our current D against cheater Brees

  55. No, they don’t. These men aren’t robots. The Packer defense only needed to hold them to a field goal, yet they let them go right down the field with no resistance. In your scenario, these games would never end like the moronic college OT games.

  56. So what you’re saying is you want the NFL to start giving out “blue turtle shells” in OT, instead of the keeping the rules as they are?

    Seahawks showed today that you gotta play the whole game no matter what. Packers just didn’t play the whole game, hoping that what they had done in the previous ~50 minutes of the game would be enough.

  57. Seahawks fan here, so it’s obviously easy tonight for me to say this, but I agree that a first-possession TD ending the game in OT doesn’t quite work for me either. I’d like to know the rationale behind the rule, but it never made sense to me that the other team doesn’t get a four-down shot.

    But, um, not exactly complaining about it tonight.

  58. Seahawks win and some people want to cry foul and change the rules. It’s fine just the way it is. There is still a level of sudden death. You can give up a score but just not a touchdown on the first possession. The Packers should’ve held them to 3.

  59. Here’s a way to to win when playing a tough team in their field:

    Have some freaking balls on fourth and inches….twice…..with Eddie Lacy in your backfield.

    One person and one person only lost this game. McCarthy. When you play “not to lose,” you lose. Every time.

  60. It’s pretty simple: If you don’t want to lose, stop the other team from scoring.
    The game has 3 equally important phases. You can have the greatest QB in the world, but if your defense blows, you have no business winning in overtime or regulation.

  61. The rule is pretty lame and anyone who doesnt see that is an idiot. Someone said if they can’t stop them from scoring, then they should lose. Then why not call the game after its 7 to 0. According to statistics, whoever wins coin toss wins the game theajority of the time. And the refs have to much control over the game as it is. One bad call in OT could really cost you the game. Both teams were at there playing there ass’s of for 4 qt’s and gave it all they had. Know u going to tell them, hey good game. I know you played hard and going to the super I’d your dream, but the wind just wasnt blowing in the right direction for the coin to land in your favor. Better luck next year. How could antone think this is fair.

  62. Because a first-drive field goal is easy for such talent and a touchdown requires just what the Seahawks had to do to get it, work; no worries, the rule is appropriate.

  63. The rule was not designed to give both teams a chance; it was designed to prevent a team from winning the game on a lame, half-hearted attempt at a drive and field goal. That was the worst way to end a game, on an above average kick return and a few mediocre plays. Make a team earn it by playing to the end….like the Seahawks did last night.

  64. The coin flip was one of the reasons Green Bay lost the game. That simply shouldn’t happen in the NFL. Both teams should have a fair shot on both offense and defense.

  65. Yes, the rules should be changed to ensure a possession for each team. Here is why:

    About ten years ago, the rules in the game were changed to favor the offense; more restrictions on hits to the quarterback, more restrictions on hits to the receiver, less contact on receivers. No rules have been changes since then to favor the defense.

    That means that the rules unfairly favor the winner of the coin toss. The rules are in favor of the offense, which is fair only if both teams actually get to play offense.

    As long as the field is tilted against the defense, then the rules must be changed to allow for both teams to have a possession, or at least do away with sudden death.

  66. packers291 says:
    Jan 19, 2015 2:53 PM
    Yes, the rules should be changed to ensure a possession for each team. Here is why:

    About ten years ago, the rules in the game were changed to favor the offense; more restrictions on hits to the quarterback, more restrictions on hits to the receiver, less contact on receivers. No rules have been changes since then to favor the defense.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I agree with your point but one rule was changed to favor the defense. The one where they can now push a receiver OB before their feet come down in bounds.

  67. I say go back to where a FG could win it. It seems like the NFL bent over backward because the Vikings were on the short end of the stick in 2009.

    What they didn’t take into account is the Vikings are always on the short end of the stick. You can’t lose 4 Superbowls and the last 5 NFC Championship games you played in without feeling the business end of the short stick.

  68. Also, what evidence was there that Green Bay could have scored a TD? They had 4 cracks at them in plus territory, 2 cracks within the 5 yard line, and 1 memorable sequence up against the half inch line and only managed 22 points. The rules are exactly how they should be. If you can’t stop another team from scoring a TD, you lose.

  69. Funny no one has mentioned what vegas oddsmakers will have to say about changes. Every major sport guarantees both teams a shot in OT. Don’t want to copy college. To keep down the chance of injury or turnover – no kickoffs- each team starts at their own 20 (if first team scores). If first defensive team creates a turnover or stop, they start their possession where they get the ball (punt, turnover on downs) makes the overtime coin toss more interesting.

  70. Overtime should be a set period of time. At least enough time for both teams to have 1 possession. Maybe 10 minutes instead of 15 and play it to the end. Why they make it so complicated is beyond me.

  71. Leave it as is. It’s much harder to score a td than drive into range for a field goal. If you can’t stop a team from getting a t.d. on the first drive, you lose, I’m fine with that.

  72. 2:52 left in the game score Packers 19 Seahawks 7.

    With 1:25 left in the game the score: Seahawks 22 Packers 19.

    The Packers got a chance to drive the field with 1:25 left, 3 Timeouts, and arguably the best QB in football. They were also the highest scoring offense in football this year.

    They settled for a FG to tie the game and elected to go with OT. When they kickd that GG there were still 00:14 seconds left on the clock.

    They never once aired it out for a chance to score the go-ahead TD and finish the game on their own terms. They played percentages and went with the safe calls.

    In OT they had Seattle in two 3rd down situations. They allowed big plays to convert on both of those 3rd downs. They had stopped Seattle all day long on third down. But when it counted most they let Seattle drive on them.

    The second 3rd down conversion to Baldwin was for 35 yards. Holy crap! Next play after that is a 35 yard TD pass to Kearse who had been the target on all 4 of Russell Wilson’s interceptions.

    Seattle was the number one team in explosive plays from scrimmage this year. And Green Bay let them have 3 explosive plays from scrimmage to win the game.

    1. Lynch scampered 24 yards untouched for the go ahead TD.
    2. Baldwin gts a 35-yard completion on 3rd down to the Green Bay 35 in OT.
    3. Kearse gets a 35-yard TD to win the game in OT very next play.

    If you want to add a TD on a faked FG and a recovery of an on-side kick to the mix, I guess they were explosive too.

  73. What part of “sudden death” do you not understand?

    If you can’t stop the opposing team from scoring a touchdown in ‘sudden death’ overtime, you don’t deserve to be on the field any longer. Game over!

    Leave the game alone if not only for tradition’s sake!

  74. Yes, both teams should be able to possess the ball. Also, at start of overtime, eliminate the coin toss and give the option to the team that has the most offensive yardage.

  75. According to statistics, whoever wins coin toss wins the game the majority of the time
    ———————————————
    I realize I’m late to this thread, so there’s a chance this won’t be seen, but…

    Since the rule change was implemented in 2009, 52% of the teams won the game that won the toss. So, while your statement is technically accurate, it’s wrong.

    Also, out of the 50+ games that went into overtime since 2009, only 7 have ended when a first possession touchdown.

    Based on that, don’t change the rule.

    BTW, of those 7 td’s, Russell Wilson has 3 of them…

  76. Wouldn’t have matter for GB is they were given a chance to respond to the TD. No doubt they would have encountered another 4th and 1 and McCarthy would have sent out the punt team.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!