When the NFL discussed changes to its overtime format, former head of officiating Dean Blandino’s argument was simple: Just get rid of it.
Blandino, who recently left the league to work for FOX, was asked by Colin Cowherd whether anybody ever argued for getting rid of overtime. Blandino answered, “Yours truly.”
As the NFL became concerned that long overtimes were a player safety risk, Blandino proposed eliminating overtime, but he said he had little support within the league.
“We started talking about overtime and reducing it from 15 to 10 because we were worried about additional snaps, players playing a full quarter more of football and then potentially having to go play on Thursday,” Blandino said. “Well, if we’re worried about player safety, then eliminate overtime and play to win in regulation. It would make the last two minutes that much more exciting. If a team’s sitting there with 30 to go and the ball on their 20, and they know the game could end in a tie because there’s no overtime, they’re going to go for it, take chances, take risks. We did talk about that. I think there would be some serious backlash from the fans if we got rid of overtime . . . but when you really break it down and you say, ‘OK, you’ve got to play to win in regulation, I think ultimately that would be a good thing.”
There would, of course, have to be some way of breaking ties in the postseason, as the league isn’t just going to cancel the Super Bowl if the NFC Championship Game is tied after four quarters. But in the regular season, the league could just deal with more ties. A small step was taken in that direction this offseason, with overtime reduced from 15 minutes to 10. It seems unlikely that the much larger step of eliminating overtime will ever catch on.