Overtime rule change is permanent

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Two wrongs don’t make a right. They potentially make a freaking mess.

I’m not one to say “I told you so” (actually, I am), but I want to make sure it’s clear from the get-go that the misguided change to the preseason and regular-season overtime procedures will result in unintended consequences. At least the owners let themselves an escape hatch by making the change a one-year proposition, with 24 yes votes necessary in 2018 to continue it.

Oh, wait. They didn’t. Per a league spokesman, it’s a permanent change. That means it becomes the law of the land until at least 24 of the owners decide to dump it.

Think of how this came to be. For decades, overtime has had a duration of up to 15 minutes. While longer overtime periods became more likely after the adoption of the two-possession rule* in 2010, it wasn’t until the NFL faced increasing criticism for Thursday Night Football that sealing off the possibility of a team playing up to 75 minutes on a Sunday and then playing again on a Thursday became a concern. Taking that possibility off the table became the top concern that pushed the change through, despite real concerns about what may happen — and with no easy way to fix the mistake because the opposition will now have to grow from nine to 24 to change the rule again.

There could be more ties, which everyone will hate. There definitely won’t be fewer ties, not with the rule that guarantees the team that kicks off to start overtime a chance to tie or beat a first-drive field goal. And there could be unfair outcomes, with dinking and dunking by a West Coast offense milking the clock and giving the other team little or no time to score if/when they get the ball for the first and only time.

Some believe teams will now play faster in a compressed extra session. If they do, and if the same number of average snaps are taken in overtime with 10 minutes as there were with 15, the problem won’t have been addressed at all.

There are too many variables, too many permutations, too many possibilities for the league to make this change on a permanent basis. The fact that the league office commandeered a permanent change shows how committed it is to the new rule regardless of consequence, which underscores that the main objective was simply to take from the table one of the things to which players, media, and fans could point when complaining about short-week football.

Instead, players, media, and fans will be complaining about the unintended consequences of 10-minute overtime, if not this season then eventually.

31 responses to “Overtime rule change is permanent

  1. Get rid of Thursday Night Football. I don’t know many people who care for it and it is completely hypocritical for the league to talk about player safety then play games on Thursday nights.

    As far as over-time I think they should drop the “each team needs to have the ball” mentality and just play the “entire” extra period, whether it is 10-minutes long or 15-minutes long.

  2. I’ve got a fix – how about make it sudden death, like it used to be? Sorry snowflakes, if your D can’t stop their O if you lose the coin toss, you deserve to lose the game.

    Life isn’t fair, not everyone gets a trophy (unless you’re a Colt), and OT should be sudden death.

  3. “The fact that the league office commandeered a permanent change shows how committed it is to the new rule regardless of consequence…”

    Where have you been the last 12 years? That’s how everything is done under RG1 – the “now” is the only concern, especially if the “now” means more money.

    I happen to disagree with your position that this will be a disaster of Biblical proportions; I want to see how it plays out for at least 1 year. But being shocked that the league office is extremely short-sighted should only happen to someone who has not observed this regime in action.

  4. OT can still end in a tie. Providing less time in OT increases the likelihood of a tie.

    Why not just get rid of OT altogether and let games end in ties?

  5. Here is how to fix it:

    Regular season overtime is flawed. Get rid of it entirely. Florio, I think you are wrong if you say people will hate ties.

    In the postseason, go with

    Two 10 minute halves; each teach receives the ball at the beginning of a half.

    If the game is still tied, college football system.

    Very simple

  6. “There could be more ties, which everyone will hate. ”

    Actually plenty of people are fine with ties. There’s nothing wrong with that result at all during the regular season.

  7. Five minutes less on the field can only mean one thing, five more minutes of commercials.

  8. Why make it permanent before you see how it works out? To save the possibility of FIVE MINUTES of play? And how likely is it that it would happen to a team playing the next Thursday? I guess that they had to balance out the intelligence of the new celebration move with a dumbass maneuver. I hope they have a dozen ties next season!

  9. 5 Minutes in clock time equates to less than two minutes of actual action. The argument of potential of 75 minutes on Sunday then game on Thursday is ridiculous.
    If you are afraid of the extra 15 minutes then play for a WIN!!!

  10. “The change is permanent.”
    “But longer OT periods generate more ad revenue.”
    “Rescind. Rescind!”

  11. FACT: The only thing PERMANENT in the NFL is that there is nothing permanent. As soon as they can find a way to collect more money for longer OT periods this PERMANENT rule will be gone, player health or safety be dam.

  12. I agree. Terrible move, NFL. Whatever team wins the toss and receives will milk the clock on every single play. I thought the NFL was worried about the tv product, which is why they are decreasing some ad time, like after a TD/PAT/Kickoff scenario?

  13. the main objective was simply to take from the table one of the things to which players, media, and fans could point when complaining about short-week football.

    This rule change doesn’t remove the ability to complain about having a short week after playing overtime. The overtime is still there. Do you really think people won’t complain about playing Thursday after playing overtime on Sunday just because the overtime is five minutes shorter?

  14. grumpysal says:
    May 23, 2017 3:40 PM

    I’ve got a fix – how about make it sudden death, like it used to be? Sorry snowflakes, if your D can’t stop their O if you lose the coin toss, you deserve to lose the game.
    Sudden Death worked fine in the old NFL before the days of rampant offense and field goal kickers making everything from long range. So the “if your defense can’t stop them you deserve to lose” argument is obsolete. The only sensible solution is to allow regular season ties.

  15. The NFL will again change 32 rules next year out of boredom so potentially this rule isn’t permanent.

  16. Couple of things.

    Regarding commercials, in the past, during OT, commercials are pretty much eliminated unless there is a serious injury. I don’t recall the commercial breaks when there is a change of possession and timeouts are only the 30 second variety. Loss of ad revenue can’t be a reason the NFL can use to say “look what we are willing to give up”. Shortening OT does not impact add revenue…except

    If a game runs long in an early time-slot and is a national game, the home markets of the teams with the 2nd game are the only required markets that switch to the 2nd game at the start. If that 2nd game is part of a doubleheader and has a national audience as well, then yes, there is a loss in ad revenue but only for the first quarter of the 2nd game.

    In all reality, this move will not impact revenue at all otherwise the NFL would have never done it.

  17. “There could be more ties, which everyone will hate. ”

    – nothing wrong with a tie regular season… win the game regulation or lose it, added perk NFL is no need make an game longer via overtime, commercials, etc and provides opportunity for more post-season games, in order decide regular season ties occurred, should two (or more) teams end regular season identical records. All of it augmented more expensive ‘post season’ commercials, NFL’s desire.

    In 1968, Chiefs & Raiders ended regular season the same record, no ties, splitting their two regular season games & necessitating an playoff game determine division winner. Ditto 1963 BUF vs BOS, who split regular season and also each played a tie game vs the same opponent, KC (Chiefs played 2 tie games that year/missed post season entirely.

    1965 Packers as Colts ended season identical record same division, including one tie vs different opponents. Though Packers beat Colts 2x that year head to head needed third game determine division winner. Other end spectrum ’67 Rams/Colts ended regular season identical records, same division. Rams/Colts played two games, one a tie and the other a Rams win final ‘regular season’ game. Despite the same 11-2-1 record BALT missed post season entirely and 9-4-1 Packers made post season/won Superbowl (Packers had played/lost to ’67 Colts who didn’t make post season.)

    Upshot: ties can provide a multitude of possibility.

    Ties put emphasis end the season games in lieu regular, which has to an great extent become anti-climax due the sheer number ‘mediocre’ teams make post season today, nod the NFL’s ‘no team left behind’ de$ire grab much as they can.

  18. Just cause PFT doesn’t like doesn’t make it wrong. I personally, cannot think of anything I care less about. Nothing wrong with a tie.

  19. One more thing…

    Why does the NFL continue this crusade to create a new rule each year to address a peculiar situation? So there were a couple of ties last year in back to back weeks and God forbid, the ties occurred on national broadcasts. Better come up with a new rule. This year, there will be something stupid that will happen to occur once or twice this year that hasn’t occurred in 20+ years and you can bet the house that the stupid NFL will come up with a rule to address this once in a blue moon event. You can double or nothing that bet that the predictable NFL will wrap their justification around player safety.

    The rule book is already too thick. It’s what is killing this league. I understand the player safety argument but the sport is inherently violent and to assume that 200-320 pound players are not going to get hurt smashing into each other, or actually legislating the kind of collisions that can occur between these sized players and thinking that nobody will get hurt is foolish. It’s also killing the game because while everyone complains about the length of games, people really complain about the constant flags for ticky tack fouls and players getting penalized for hitting someone too hard.

    Hockey players in the playoffs play around every other day and when they are on the ice, they are moving, they get hit with sticks, pucks and they run into people and get run into the boards. They play sudden death OT that can extend more than 40 mins, sometimes 60 and then be ready to play 2 days later. Now the NFL is worried about playing an extra 5 minutes on the chance that the game goes into OT so a team can come back the following Thursday and play? It’s a weak argument to try to prop up their Thursday night cash cow which has completely over saturated the product.

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