New NFL overtime rule passes with Falcons support

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank celebrates on the sidelines after a field goal late in the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. The Falcons defeated the Buccaneers 20-10. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank celebrates on the sidelines after a field goal late in the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. The Falcons defeated the Buccaneers 20-10. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

The Atlanta Falcons voted yes to approve the new overtime rule for the playoffs at the league meetings in Orlando on Tuesday.

The rule, a form of modified sudden death,  passed 28-4, with only Baltimore, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Buffalo voting against the rule.

The NFL competition committee, of which Falcons president Rich McKay is co-chair, proposed changes to the overtime rules for the postseason.

Under the plan, a team could win on the first possession of overtime by scoring a touchdown, but if the team scores a field goal, the opposing team would receive the ball with a chance to tie with a field goal or win with a touchdown.

If the second team ties with a field goal, the game would revert to the first-to-score  sudden death rule.

“The time has maybe come to innovate when it comes to overtime,” said McKay last week when talking about the rule. “There is a reason statistically to do so.”

Sudden-death overtime was introduced in 1974, and the committee contends that the system worked from then through 1993. During that time, the team that won the coin toss won 46.8 percent of the games and the team that lost the toss won 46.8 percent of the time, McKay said. The remainder of the games ended in ties.

From 1994 — when kickoffs were pushed back to the 30-yard line — through 2009, the team that won the toss won the game 59.8 percent of the time. The team that lost the coin toss lost the game 38.5 percent of the time. All other games ended in a tie.

The committee attributes that in part to the improved accuracy of field-goal kickers.

In last season’s NFC championship game, the New Orleans Saints defeated the Minnesota Vikings in overtime without the Vikings’ offense having a possession. The Vikings dominated the game, but untimely turnovers led to the Saints’ victory.

The Falcons made their only trip to the Super Bowl –  Super Bowl XXXIII — after defeating the Minnesota Vikings 30-27 in overtime  on Jan. 17, 1999.

60 comments Add your comment

Chris

March 23rd, 2010
4:19 pm

Formul8or

March 23rd, 2010
4:34 pm

Why in the world does this only apply to postseason games??? Regular season games have too much importance to let it stay the same.

Thomas

March 23rd, 2010
4:46 pm

Interesting that everyone cites the recent Saints/Vikings playoff game as the reason for the rule change, yet the Vikings voted against the change.

[...] to his team’s defeat. It’s kind of funny though that Minnesota was one of the teams to vote against it. No TweetBacks yet. (Be the first to Tweet this post) addthis_url = [...]

Great Falconi

March 23rd, 2010
4:47 pm

This new rule is interesting, but it still doesn’t guarantee both teams a possession. I feel like playoff teams should get at least that much out of an overtime. It’s a start, though.

John OTC

March 23rd, 2010
4:55 pm

Why not just let them play the full quarter?

@wbarker

March 23rd, 2010
4:55 pm

To me this is like the mandatory “one year in college” NBA rule. Its a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough. If they can’t ensure both teams a possession in overtime, why even bother with changing the rule?

KEEPING IT REAL

March 23rd, 2010
5:00 pm

Do like basketball, put 6 min on the clock and let them play it out.

a$$play

March 23rd, 2010
5:04 pm

I like the change… but like the guy above… Why only in the postseason???

Ryan

March 23rd, 2010
5:05 pm

I can’t believe this rule actually got instated. If you lose the coin toss in OT, and you want your offense to have a shot…THEN PLAY DEFENSE AND GET THE BALL BACK! This is a 3-sided sport. It’s not JUST based on offense. If the opposing team kicks a field goal and wins it on their first drive, the ONLY thing you should be complaining about is that you couldn’t stop them…not that your offense didn’t get a chance to win.

collegelunchboxes.com

March 23rd, 2010
5:21 pm

Forget the basket and candy give the kids a UGA classictin lunchbox filled with fruit and candy so they can grow up and play inside linebacker. Go Dawgs!!

dmoon

March 23rd, 2010
5:22 pm

what? let them play a full quarter for petes sake we want more free football!!!!!!!!!

Row 3

March 23rd, 2010
5:22 pm

This will go down as: THE FAVRE RULE! Play a 15 min. quarter and see who wins. If it’s still tied, it’s a tie.

chris taylor

March 23rd, 2010
5:26 pm

I vote for a timed quarter. In a time of major growth for the nfl as in nobody’s watching mlb, nba, golf etc. if football’s on it complicates things which can turn away new viewers. As someone who got his wife whole heartedly interested in football to the point she screams holding in my ear as if she were a drunken raider fan, these types of changes can be confusing to the not so fanatic viewers. More viewers means more $, more $ means it will be easier to reach a new CBA. i cant deal with no football in 2011. just do a 10 minute quarter with the original sudden death rule in the second OT.

chris taylor

March 23rd, 2010
5:36 pm

I feel like i created a monster, she knows the calls & reasons and calls them at appropriate times. She has developed good football IQ. Only problem is now i cant get her to shut up. My 50″ plasma with surround cant drown her out, cant get enough chips & dip, nothing works. I just want my sundays back. Where’s the darn lifetime movie network when u need it!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 23rd, 2010
5:37 pm

The statistical data supports the change, but it seems to make the first 60 minutes less meaningful. Maybe coaches won’t be as conservative with small leads anymore.

Row 3

March 23rd, 2010
5:41 pm

I like the idea of playing a full overtime quarter in the regular season. You would need to have somekind of sudden death second OT in the playoffs.

chris taylor

March 23rd, 2010
5:48 pm

Doesnt the data also show that in 20 something OT playoff games that every team got a possesion except for this last yr.?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 23rd, 2010
5:56 pm

HERE’S CINCINNATI COACH MARVIN LEWIS’ RESPONSE TO THE REGULAR SEASON QUESTION AT THE AFC COACHES BREAKFAST ON MONDAY AT THE OWNER’S MEETING. He’s on the competition committee. — Courtesy of the Pro Football Writers of America and SportsXchange.com.

Q: Why not do it during the regular season?
A: LEWIS: Maybe (it’s) a little harder to get passed and more of an issue. (The) number of plays.

Delbert D.

March 23rd, 2010
5:56 pm

These boneheads got it wrong again. The rule should be “Must play to win”.

- Team A wins toss, kicks FG. Team B must play for a TD when it gets the ball.

- Team A wins toss, scores TD, kicks PAT. Team B must drive for TD and go for 2.

- Team A wins toss, loses ball on turnover. Team B can win game with TD or FG.

Lesa

March 23rd, 2010
5:57 pm

I can see the reasoning behind this, but it takes away the thrill of “sudden death.” There’s nothing more exciting than watching your team play in OT, when every little element, like the coin toss, and every single play are important to the outcome. I agree with Ryan: “If you lose the coin toss in OT, and you want your offense to have a shot…THEN PLAY DEFENSE AND GET THE BALL BACK! “

rc35

March 23rd, 2010
6:27 pm

If the “best and the brightest” minds in the NFL can’t win a game in 60 regulation minutes after planning for it for a week, do they deserve any extra time at all? Sure, I’d rather have a win than a tie, but the bottom line in most overtime games is that one team got sloppy late in the game or that the other team didn’t show up until the second half. Should either one be rewarded with a win after that? Perhaps wearing the tie in the W-L-T column all season is the best penalty of all.

waynester

March 23rd, 2010
6:30 pm

Delbert D,
I like the way you’re thinking “outside the box”. Lots of fans see an either-or situation when there are more ways than one to skin this particular cat. Many will disagree, but the new college OT rules have made those games ending deadlocked even more intense.
DLed
I’m sure the coaches are concerned about extra wear-and-tear but I LIKE the idea of coaches going for it–being less conservative interms of playcalling. These things move incrementally like icebergs, but the momentum is swinging in the direction of making OT really exciting….

SeenThisB4

March 23rd, 2010
6:30 pm

Goodell had enough votes without the Viqueens, so he let them vote their district! LOL!

Tallcarl

March 23rd, 2010
6:41 pm

Didn’t the Falcons also defeat the Vikings in overtime?

jpage327

March 23rd, 2010
6:42 pm

If you’re good enough to be in the playoffs, you’re good enough to drive the ball down the field to get a FG to win the game. It’s a cheap and unexciting way to win regardless of how the defense plays. This is a great rule and looking forward to see how it plays out.

WreckinBall

March 23rd, 2010
6:48 pm

I don’t find any excitement in watching your team lose a coin toss and then get beaten by field goal, after they have battled back to tie a game, like the Falcons did last yr. against the Giants.

4 Quarters!

March 23rd, 2010
7:06 pm

Makes sense to me!

Bob

March 23rd, 2010
7:06 pm

“through 2009, the team that won the toss won the game 59.8 percent of the time. The team that lost the coin toss lost the game 38.5 percent of the time”

Not to be the sort of jerk that corrects the article, but don’t you mean that the team losing the coin toss WON the game 38.5 percent of the time?

(And by “Not to be the sort of jerk that corrects the article,” I of course mean “I’m about to be the sort of jerk that corrects the article.”)

falcon21

March 23rd, 2010
7:09 pm

Play a 10 minute quarter, if the score is still tied then go to sudden death. If it is the regular season and the score is still tied after the 10 min. quarter call it a tie.

Gritz Blitz

March 23rd, 2010
7:13 pm

Your last paragraph is not accurate. The new overtime rule would not have helped the Vikings in the championship game with the Falcons. Both teams had possessions in that overtime before the Falcons finally kicked the winning field goal.

T

March 23rd, 2010
7:16 pm

By the old rules, if it is a shoot-out the entire game then yes, there is a disadvantage to losing the toss. Because you havent stopped them all day, and they havent stopped you. If it is a defensive struggle, its not as big of a problem.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 23rd, 2010
7:21 pm

Gritz Blitz — You are correct. Still studying the fine print. They are just ensuring at least one possession.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 23rd, 2010
7:24 pm

“If the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal on its initial possession, the other team shall have the opportunity to possess the ball. If [that team] scores a touchdown on its possession, it is the winner. If the score is tied after [both teams have a] possession, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner. –ESPN

Reece

March 23rd, 2010
7:28 pm

i understand if its 21-21 over time and team A has the ball, what happen if Team B scores a safety. Its not a game over because it isn’t a touchdown, would team A get the ball back for another shot? if so it would be 21.23. Then what happens if team A gets a field goal, it would be 24-23, would it be over even though no touchdown has been scored?

Tim Tebow's Tears

March 23rd, 2010
7:30 pm

They should change it to the college OT rules. Fun to watch

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 23rd, 2010
7:36 pm

Thanks Gritz Blitz. They are calling that “Citizen Journalism” these days. Very helpful.

WestOfAthens

March 23rd, 2010
7:37 pm

Peel back the glossy film, and peek at how overtime is executed in the college game. Exciting isn’t it? Sudden death stinks, it truly does. I know, it may sound offensive to some fanatics, but if you are going to change, make it BIG.

Dusty Rhodes

March 23rd, 2010
7:37 pm

They should put the head coaches in a ring and let them duke it out for 15 minutes, or until one can no longer stand. The winning coaches team gets the W.

Hendu

March 23rd, 2010
7:46 pm

Poor response by Bengals coach Lewis. Applying this rule uniformly is a no brainer. It should go as far as giving both teams one possession guaranteed in overtime.

JASon

March 23rd, 2010
9:05 pm

Green Bay got the ball first and didn’t win against Arizona.

PlanB

March 23rd, 2010
9:07 pm

I agree with all those saying use the same method as College.

hind tit

March 23rd, 2010
9:41 pm

theres teams that miss the playoffs every year because of this silly overtime rule. if your going to get serious about football be serious the whole season. the fans deserve better than this.

Darren

March 23rd, 2010
10:09 pm

This is crap. If you don’t like losing in overtime because you didn’t get possession, man up and win the damn game in regulation! This isn’t mediocre college football, this is professional football! Win or go home!

thunderbull56

March 23rd, 2010
11:17 pm

‘ell outlaw the field goal unless it’s a dropkick in OT. No holder. Allow a long snap and holder only on 50 plus yard attempts.Who’s alive and ever seen a dropkick field goal ala JIm Thorpe? OK football 101, Thorpe, the Carlisle Indian was former gold medal winner in olympic sports for good ‘ole US of A.’Yes even Adolph Hitler grudgingly called him the greatest athlete of the twentieth century.O the days of leather helmets.fourth and goal, ball on the twenty, Bobby Joe sissy pants has to make a dropkick or the Snidelywhupasses win.That my fellow fans would be FOOTBALL!

thunderbull56

March 23rd, 2010
11:41 pm

BTW college OT rules $uck% hind tit.In fact, in my long toothed observations of the the game, OT is a result of both parties trying not lose.Instead of one or both being determined to win.Neither usually has the guts to go for two or the jugular when they have the opportunity.Sadly,they usually deserve to end up in a tie.

ueeediot

March 24th, 2010
2:36 am

This is terrible for the game. I don’t believe in this charity of GIVING you the ball. At NO TIME in a regulation game are you guaranteed the ball. If you think you are, then go tell the Saints they MUST give the ball to the Colts in the 2nd half.
You should NEVER be handed the ball. Make them win the game by first team to score a minimum of 5 points and play by the same rules as regulation.

Bill

March 24th, 2010
6:48 am

Maybe like hockey, the NFL should do shoot outs. Let them take turns kicking 40 yd field goals until someone misses. Or, instead of a coin toss, we could do a jump ball at the 50 yard line.

FalconsFan1

March 24th, 2010
6:52 am

Winkasdad29

March 24th, 2010
8:26 am

Delbert D’s idea is sound. I like it. However, this new NFL rule is good, too and will work. I don’t like any OT rule that removes an element of the game, such as kick offs and returns. Field position to start OT should be established by a return, not a rule.