In March, there seemed to be momentum for an adjustment to postseason overtime that would allow each team to have a guaranteed possession. As recently as three weeks ago, it appeared that the momentum was still there.
Now, it’s gone. For at least a year.
With the votes not in place to implement the revision to the overtime rule, the league has kicked the matter to next year, vowing to revisit it. But what will be different in a year?
Not a thing. Unless, of course, one of the 2019 conference title games or Super Bowl LIV ends in a walk-off, first-drive overtime touchdown while the team that kicked off to start overtime never gets a chance to possess the ball.
Either the votes currently exist to make overtime more equitable or they don’t. If they don’t, they don’t.
Of course, delaying the issue for a year is no different than voting it down completely. The Chiefs, who proposed the change in the first place, would be free to introduce to each and every year until it passes, no matter how many times it gets voted down.
This outcome feels more political than anything else. Political in the sense that voting the proposal down could be viewed as a sign of disrespect to Chiefs owner Clark Hunt. Political in the sense that, by not taking a vote on the rule, the headline isn’t that the NFL rejected the change. The NFL simply didn’t act on it. Which could make a difference if one of the 2019 conference title games or Super Bowl LIV ends in a walk-off, first-drive overtime touchdown while the team that kicked off to start overtime never gets a chance to possess the ball.
Regardless, enough people regard the current rule as inequitable to make it an issue. But not enough (at least 24 of 32 owners) believe that change is necessary.
It would be far better for the league if the issue wasn’t an issue, and that people wouldn’t point out the inequity (especially in the postseason) of one team winning a coin toss, choosing to receive (who wouldn’t?), and hoping to advance to the next round (or to win the Super Bowl) by scoring a touchdown on the first drive.
While the league waits for a year, here’s some free advice: Consider a complete overhaul of overtime. Consider the XFL’s two-point conversion shootout, which would be many things (exciting, compelling, efficient) and most importantly fair to both teams.