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March 17, 2010

Proposed OT change for postseason only

The NFL competition committee will propose rule changes to the sudden-death overtime system at the annual league owners' meetings next week in Orlando, but only to affect post-season games.

Committee co-chair Rich McKay, the Atlanta Falcons' team president, said today on a conference call with reporters that the regular-season sudden death system would not be changed, at least initially.

The proposal, which owners will vote upon, calls for the game to continue if the team that wins the coin toss kicks a field goal on its first possession of what McKay said would become a "modified sudden death" system. If the second team also kicked a field goal on its first drive, the game then would convert to the usual sudden death. If the second team scored a touchdown on its first drive to trump the first team's field goal, the game would end.

The idea is to allow the team that doesn't win the toss more of a chance to win and particularly not to lose on a field goal without getting the ball.

McKay said statistics show a dramatic change over the years in the advantage that the team which wins the coin toss has in winning the game, either on a field goal on its first overtime possession or because of a good kickoff return that gives it a field position advantage that affects multiple possessions.

Between 1974 and 1993, McKay said the team that won the overtime coin toss wound up winning 46.8 percent of the time, the same percentage as the team that lost the toss.

But from 1994 through 2009, McKay said the team winning the coin toss won 59.8 percent of the time compared to 38.5 percent for the team that lost the toss.

McKay said the committee doesn't yet know whether it has enough votes among owners to pass the proposal. Prior attempts to make changes in the overtime system have failed.

"In the past,  people have been quick to say our system works very well and why would we change it," said McKay. "That’s always been a blocking point. We just think we can make a statistical argument that the time may have come to make a change."

McKay said there are advocates to "put in a system that emphasizes more skill and stretategy over the randomness of the coin flip."

McKay noted that placekickers have become much more accurate over the years, thus increasing the chance that a sudden death overtime period could end quickly with a field goal.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on March 17, 2010 at 11:35 AM | Permalink


I like the idea of changing OT, especially for playoffs, but this idea is simply terrible.

Posted by: djfoams | Mar 17, 2010 12:54:15 PM

Can someone tell me why the win/lose splits don't add to 100%?

Posted by: JMB | Mar 17, 2010 1:48:53 PM

i'm guessing that's the % of ties in overtime games.

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 17, 2010 2:09:28 PM

They don't add up because of OT in the regular season can result in a Tie.

Posted by: jwhit | Mar 17, 2010 2:11:57 PM

They should start the overtime without a kickoff, start the team on the 50 yard line, let them play till they score or turn the ball over, then let the other team do the same thing, kind of like college only make it farther from the goal line from the start of overtime, maybe even start the teams out at their own 40.

Posted by: Mr Bernz | Mar 17, 2010 2:41:00 PM

why does this have to be so hard..play the overtime, if one team scores the other team should have a chance to match that score. if they dont, they loose... simple.

if they keep matching each others scores and dont take a chance on a 2 pt conversion or going for a td instead of a fg, when time runs out they tie. again simple.

dont change the rules starting teams out at the 20 yrd line or some crap like that. or force the teams to make 2 pt conversions. thats not the game of football.

Posted by: ftbs11 | Mar 17, 2010 2:55:42 PM

If the team losing the coin flip doesn't want to the lose the game by the other team scoring first then they should stop them. Leave OT alone.

Posted by: Doctorlove | Mar 17, 2010 3:38:16 PM

This rule needs to apply to the regular season too.

Posted by: Jay | Mar 17, 2010 4:56:35 PM

Overtime is just fine.

No real need to change something thats been constant for so long.

Barrack Obama isnt on the league's rule-change commission so "change" isnt all that necessary.

Posted by: Julio Peppo | Mar 17, 2010 10:41:47 PM

If you want to get the ball, stop the other team! At most, I'd be ok with them moving the kick forwards 5 yards.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 18, 2010 12:00:13 AM

"McKay noted that placekickers have become much more accurate over the years, thus increasing the chance that a sudden death overtime period could end quickly with a field goal."

So take the field goal out. First team to score a touchdown wins.

Posted by: Patrick McElhaney | Mar 18, 2010 8:38:40 AM

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