Spring League returns with revolutionary overtime idea


The 2019 failure of the AAF and the 2020 return of the XFL may have caused most to forget about The Spring League, a four-team, short-season endeavor that started at The Greenbrier in West Virginia and has since moved to Texas.

Last year, Johnny Manziel launched his “Comeback SZN” in that league. This year, the league has quietly returned, with a fascinating overtime concept that will definitely make some noise, if it ever catches on.

It’s basically what we proposed two years ago, when the NFL was in the process of cutting regular-season overtime from 15 minutes to 10: A two-point conversion shootout, with one offense and the opposing defense and the other offense and opposing defense on separate ends of the field, going back and forth, one snap after another, through multiple rounds. (Apparently, the idea came directly from our proposal . . . it’s nice to know that someone is reading this stuff.)

As proposed, the shootout would have three rounds before converting (if still tied) to one try each until someone has the lead. The Spring League will use five rounds, before presumably ending in a tie.

And here’s where it gets even more interesting. The Spring League has a partnership with the XFL. This is the approach that the XFL plans to use, and The Spring League is testing it out in practices and in games. Maybe it will prove to be far more exciting than standard overtime. And maybe the NFL will set aside the pride that comes from not using ideas conceived by others and adopt it.

Yeah, that all sounded pretty good until the last part. No matter how compelling a two-point conversion shootout becomes, the NFL will never adopt it. And they can feel free to prove me wrong.

44 responses to “Spring League returns with revolutionary overtime idea

  1. Why do some want to decide of the outcome of a sport by playing an alternative form of that sport. You just played 60 minutes of football and now you want to change the very essence of the game to decide the winner. That makes no sense. OT was fine the way it was. I think the shootout in hockey is awful. Again they are playing a different game to decide the winner of a game they just played.

  2. It sounds entertaining, yes, but it’s gifting each time prime opportunity to score, which undermines the spirit of football, which is to gain access to prime opportunites to score by advancing the ball down the field.

    It is a severe subset of football.

  3. Agree with Bucky 100%
    Let football be football and quit trying to make it something that’s not FOOTBALL

  4. Should had left overtime alone it was fine the way it was! If you where to make a change this is what I would had done differently! In the pre/regular season I would make the overtime the full 15 minutes and whoever has the most points wins the game! And if it still a tie game than its a tie game! And for the playoffs/super bowl like the regular season play the full minute overtime and of course if its still tied after 1st overtime than in the 2nd overtime the first team to score wins!

  5. imagine if basketball ended overtime with a 3 point shooting contest. That’s how dumb of an idea i think this is.

  6. Just go the college route for OT. I’d like to see these professionals go 7 OT’s like Aggy and LSU did this year.

  7. I love this plan, but the refs are going to hate it. Ref one play, then sprint to the other end of the football field. Ref a play, repeat. By the sixth conversion, most of the refs will be cross-eyed, to the extent they weren’t before the game.

  8. The NHL already has turned their OT into a skills competition that has little at all to do with a real game. It’s garbage. Please leave your garbage OT ideas at the door. OT is fine, and there is nothing wrong with a tie.

  9. DISLIKE! UNBALANCED! Should a hung jury then be decided by JNOV?

    The present format involves all aspects of the game — special teams, offense, defense, down conversion, turnover, etc. And yes, defense is half the game — if you lose the coin toss, then that half of your team gets tested first.

    The coin toss is the only UNFAIR aspect. Change that to a competition of free kick through the uprights from your 35, best of 3, then coin toss if tied.

  10. Revolutionary? I say novelty. And I’m getting pretty tired of all these rule changes. Why does the NFL think that it has to tinker with things every year!! Haven’t they screwed up the game enough already? STOP!!!

  11. Such a stupid way of ending a game. Hey you get 3 extra times to win a game.. Because you couldn’t do it in regulation..

  12. “Agree with Bucky 100%
    Let football be football and quit trying to make it something that’s not FOOTBALL”


    It’s pronounced “Foopbaw.”

  13. grayone77 says:
    April 7, 2019 at 4:39 pm
    This is one step away from having a dance-off.

    Judging by recent decisions by the league, you may be on to something!

    Have both teams field all 22 starters, regardless of injury & they have to recreate the complete Micheal Jackson, “Thriller” video! Winner will be selected by voting on social media! C’mon, tell me you wouldn’t pay to see players like; Gronk & Brady, Manning & Barkley, Darnold & Lev-Bell etc leading the troope??? There’s a way to finish a day at the sports bar!

  14. 1. What do the refs do?
    2. What happens in the event of a turnover that’s getting returned? Where do the players on the other side of the field go?
    3. What happens if the team on offense wants to use defensive players on their 2pt attempt? Happens pretty often in the NFL.

    For once, college has it right with their overtime. The NFL should adopt that.

  15. Stupid. It has nothing to do with pride, it’s just a dumb idea.

    Its like if the NBA decided instead of overtime, they’ll play a game of HORSE to determine the winner. Or the MLB suddenly shifts to a HR derby after a 9th inning tie.

    Change for the sake of change is not progress.

  16. How about if the NFL goes back to the most exciting thing in all of sports: sudden death overtime? Play until somebody scores, and then the game is over. That was awesome. (And don’t complain if you don’t get the ball in overtime. Win the coin toss so you don’t have to worry about that.)

  17. The only fairness in football is the coin toss. Pure, unadulterated random chance. No outside influences. No favoritism. No judgment calls. The final step in all playoff tie breakers is the coin toss.

  18. Awful. Besides the referees running all over the place, there are bound to be a million scoring reviews. Good ol’ sudden death just keeps looking better and better…. whatever happened to matriculating the ball down the field?

  19. This is similar to the NCAA overtime rules…i like it, but i don’t know why we don’t just go with that…i personally love the excitement of NCAA football overtime. it keeps everything exciting by putting both teams in scoring position, it gives both teams a fair shot at winning, it doesn’t take away from the game, because you still have to drive 25 yards/decide whether to kick a FG or go for it/etc.

  20. BuckyBadger says:
    April 7, 2019 at 1:16 pm
    Why do some want to decide of the outcome of a sport by playing an alternative form of that sport. You just played 60 minutes of football and now you want to change the very essence of the game to decide the winner. That makes no sense.

    BIG thumbs up B.B.. This is the best reasoning I’ve seen on this topic.

    Why so many all of a sudden want to fix something that isn’t broken is beyond me. People just can’t leave well enough alone.

    There is no way that after having 4 hard fought quarters to win the game it should come down to some pro bowl skills competition type crap like this idea. Play defense.

  21. Pffft. Just play actual football for overtime. Wild idea, I know.

    Just let ties be ties in the regular season, and play 10 minute additional quarters in the postseason. Penalty kicks aren’t the solution. They make a complete joke out of major international soccer games. Don’t bring that crap over here!

  22. I really don’t like that idea. I prefer that teams play football and if it’s still tied, that’s how it ends. This ends up being a gimmick like college OT.

  23. Can someone please tell me what is the problem with a tie?
    If you can’t win the game playing conventional football you have to resort to some trick to win?

    Ties actually make for some really interesting late-season scrambling in the win-loss column.

    Here’s one alternative: each team gets one possession from the 40 yard line. It’s played regularly at 4 downs. No touchdown, field goal is attempted and likely made. Other team has same attempt.
    If they kick a field goal, game is tied and concludes. If they fail, the other team that kicked the field goal wins.
    If the first team fails to score in four downs and the second team scores, game over.
    It would take less than 5 minutes in all likelihood to finish the game.

  24. BuckyBadger- that’s my point exactly. The shootout in hockey is way too gimmicky, it doesn’t reward the better time, turns it into a coin flip. It’s like a foul shooting contest in basketball or FG (2 pt conversion?) contest in football or a homerun derby in baseball…it’s an arbitrary way to decide a game. Just play until there’s a winner. Give both teams a possession regardless, if they both do the same thing (fg, td, loss of possession) keep going until someone takes the lead/wins the game. Done.

  25. This is a very poor idea….
    I’d rather see FOOTBALL determine the winner of the game, not some gimmick that doesn’t truly test & keep with the whole concept of what football is truly about…..the game is played for 4 quarters…. the current system for overtime is not flawed….win in regulation or risk never touching the ball in overtime…. the Chiefs gave up 3 3rd & longs (8-10 yarders)…..they had ample opportunities to make the Pats punt or kick a field goal to get their chance to win…. they didn’t do that….& because it’s the Patriots that won, everyone now feels the rules need to be changed….had the Chiefs won the toss & scored a TD, NOBODY would be discussing the current rules which I find both ironic & sad…..
    Pats went into a hostile environment & outplayed the home team against all odds….. get over it already!!!!!

  26. What will all of the Patriots fans be saying when the overtime rules finally go against their team? Will they sit there and take it for what it is and still call the rules fair, even though Tom Brady didn’t get a shot to the game in overtime?

    Highly doubtful.

  27. College rule or any sudden death shootout rule sucks because it’s so removed and gimmicky from the regulation game itself. Anything reduces the game to a shootout at the end is not going to cut it.

    IF IF IF, again, IF there’s a change, here’s an idea for NFL: in overtime when team A scores a touchdown on their first drive, the opponent team B gets to respond and if they score a touchdown they MUST go for 2 point conversion. If they succeed in the 2pc, they win the game by one point. If they don’t, they lose by one point. At that junction, the game would be decided on that one play. Quick and simple and still retains the essence of the regulation game without the tedious back and forth going for a tie ad nauseam.

    Another unintended positive consequence is that a coach might go for 2 in the regulation to win the game outright instead of to tie the game (like the KC vs NE AFCCC game that Andy Reid could have just ended and won the game outright) because odds are about the same. The built in incentive is to encourage coaches NOT to go into overtime and just win the damn in regulation! And in the future there would be less overtime games in the first place.

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