BIRDLAND – Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith is in favor of the new modified sudden death overtime rule that was passed at the league meetings on Tuesday in Orlando.
After having breakfast with the assembled writers in Orlando Wednesday morning, Smith was a guest with Randy Cross and Peter King on Sirius Radio.
“I really like the idea that we kept the element of sudden death in play,” Smith said on the Opening Drive show. “I’m real excited that you’re not going to lose a ball game by a team going down and kicking a field goal.
“I think ultimately, with the game of football the idea is to score touchdowns. If you go down and score a touchdown in sudden death, then you win. If you don’t, the other team has an opportunity to go in and score. There is a chance that both teams are going to get the football and I really like that.”
Cross asked Smith about the rule change from his perspective as a defensive-minded coach.
“I really think that the rule is going to add some excitement to the game,” Smith said. “You just don’t want to lose a football game (on a field goal). . .if you want to win right away, you have to go down and score a touchdown.”
Smith welcomes the additional layer of strategy involved with the new rule.
“We as coaches are getting evaluated every Monday,” Smith said. “I don’t think this is really going to add that much to it. . . It is new. There will be a learning curve. The decisions that we are making at the end of the game will be amplified.”
The committee wanted to take the randomness of the coin toss out the overtime playoff picture. Smith doesn’t believe there will be a “Marty Mornhiweg” part to the rule. Mornhiweg elected to kickoff in overtime when he was head coach of the Detroit Lions.
“I think if you win the toss, you’re going to take the ball and you’re going to go down and have the mindset that we’re going to put it in the endzone, game over,” Smith said.
There has been some displeasure with the rule change in the coaching ranks. King cited an interview he’d just completed with New Orleans coach Sean Payton, who contended the owners slipped this rule change in through the backdoor.
“There has been some discussion among coaches and there are a number of proposals that have come out,” Smith said. “But I really think this improves the overtime situation that we’ve had (since 1974). This is an improvement. As time goes on we are always trying to improve our game and trying to adjust the rules. . . I’m looking forward to seeing how this one work outs.”