Falcons coach Mike Smith is in favor of new OT rule

Falcons coach Mike Smith and vice president of communications Reggie Roberts at the combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC).

Falcons coach Mike Smith and vice president of communications Reggie Roberts at the combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC).

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.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton doesn't like the modified sudden death rule.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton doesn't like the modified sudden death 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.”

38 comments Add your comment


March 24th, 2010
10:07 am

Yeah and Sean Payton is one of the reasons the rule was passed. Without the coin flip AND all the help from the men is stripes, who knows what happens?


March 24th, 2010
10:13 am

If it is such a great rule, (and I like it), why not for regular season as well?


March 24th, 2010
10:17 am

The NFL is a big ship and it turns slowly. The momentum is now in favor of OT changes so I feel positive that we’ll eventually get to your suggestion. Glad Coach is onboard and excited about it too…

Blue Fender

March 24th, 2010
10:56 am

I’m sure if Payton’s Saints had lost in OT in the playoffs, he’d be for it.

Rick Beach

March 24th, 2010
10:58 am

What does Vick think about it?


March 24th, 2010
11:01 am

Why not just let the game continue from where it was when 60 minutes was over? If you are on your own 2 yard line and 4th down that’s tough. If you are 1st down on your opponent’s 40 that’s good. I have always thought starting all over and tossing a coin was just a silly a$$ way to add drama.


March 24th, 2010
11:11 am

Rick…..someone had to explain that the OT they were refering to was not offensive tackle and he’s still trying to figure the whole thing out. Please give Vick time to let it all soak in. I mean come, one he’s only a 3rd string QB for cripe sake.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 24th, 2010
12:01 pm

Just got out of the “How to respond to readers” class.

Don’t think we can use some of the language we see here in the blog from time to time.

FS Sikes

March 24th, 2010
12:02 pm

1 possession each, whether you make a touchdown, a field goal, or nothing, and then sudden death.
How much longer would that extend a game?

chris taylor

March 24th, 2010
12:35 pm

I’m all for a change to the overtime rules if they want. This one is a step in the right direction but i dont think it is complete yet. It will be modified some eventually i think. It gives it a “jerry glanville” go for it attitude. I think teams should go for it on 4th down more anyways, mainly when we are on the opposing teams side of the 50.

chris taylor

March 24th, 2010
12:44 pm

To the guy at the top, if u lose by a field goal in OT in the regular season then u still have 15 other games. Playoffs it’s 1 & done. Its going to be interesting when u have a regular season game that a team is 9-6 and they lose in overtime to the old rule to finish 9-7 and miss playoffs. Or the new rule would have given them chance to finish 10-6 and make playoffs. When that happens a couple times we’ll see it implemented in regular season or modified again.


March 24th, 2010
1:17 pm

The NFL Owners are talking about another vote in Dallas in May about the possibility of making this rule effective for the regular season in 2010. I say go for it. Make it the same in the reg. season AND the playoffs! But like someone said earlier the NFL is a big ship and turns slowly. It’ll happen sooner than later.


March 24th, 2010
1:20 pm

No field goals in OT. That would be best.

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John Holmes

March 24th, 2010
1:23 pm

I would be in favor of a new rule to keep King Arthur Blank OFF THE FREAKING SIDELINES during the game! I am so sick of seeing him strut up and down in an attempt to get his ugly mug on TV. Have you no shame, Mr. Blank? Yes we all know you own the team……..but you and Jerry “Plastic Surgery” Jones are the only 2 owners that parade the sidelines to get on TV. The majority of Falcon’s fans DO NOT want to see you on the sidelines. Stay in the plush owners box and talk to your 30 year old wife.


March 24th, 2010
1:25 pm

Rick at 10:58 post: Vick think? Think? Think? Surely you don’t mean Vick Think?


March 24th, 2010
1:27 pm

DOL Please clarify your comments:Don’t we can use some ……etc. Don’t what?

(Don’t think)


March 24th, 2010
1:28 pm

man, if our only problem is AB being on the field we are in great shape. I guarantee you if I owned this team I would be on the field also. I like the fact he is hands on, pats the players on the back, shakes hands,
or just gives encouragement. I bet the players like it too.

Sly Ty

March 24th, 2010
1:28 pm

I love the rule change, in fact I think the collegiate ranks need to adopt the format as well. Also, it should be added to the regular season as well. Too many OT games end with the coin toss winner kicking a field goal, that is so totally NOT COOL, especially if that losing team is the Falcons.

The Real Falcon

March 24th, 2010
1:34 pm

Bring it on to the regular season!


March 24th, 2010
1:40 pm

The only thing I don’t like about the rule is if the team who loses the coin toss, can’t win with a field goal if the team who won the toss can’t score a touchdown or a field goal.


March 24th, 2010
1:52 pm

I like the fact that both teams will have a shot. OT always favors the offense since the D is usually dog tired by the 5th quarter. Don’t want exactly what college does with ot but something similar


March 24th, 2010
2:04 pm

Makes better sense to me…especially given the fact that DBs can’t breathe on receivers without drawing an interference call. This one certainly (and finally) favors defenses…

F-105 Thunderchief

March 24th, 2010
2:21 pm

How to respond to readers. Pucker. Applied cyberlips to reader’s backside.

No charge.

florida falcon

March 24th, 2010
2:39 pm

The only thing that I don’t like is why have a postseason OT rule and a different Reg. season OT rule. Keep them the same for the entire season! Then again, i’m just a dumb fan, so shut the hell up and buy the product!


March 24th, 2010
3:33 pm

Of COURSE Sean Payton came out against this rule. What a toolbox.

I am going to love watching teams roll over him, his visor, and his 4×8 foot playbook card this fall


March 24th, 2010
3:41 pm

i suppose if you are a loser orginization like the falcons then that explains why you love the rule change. sorry to all you saint haters but we won the superbowl in impressive fashion. we also beat a very good vikes team that would have just totally crushed smitty and matty slush. well anyway , i’m glad you’re happy with the rule change. your chance to go 9-7 again just went way up so you’ll be able to celebrate 3 winning seasons in a row!!!!! WOW!!!!!

JIm Mora, Jr.

March 24th, 2010
3:50 pm

Let me call the coin flip…I need a job and I DO know the difference between heads and tails.


March 24th, 2010
3:56 pm

@ Tommy

YOU are a toolbox. Sean P is the best playcaller/Offensive mind the the NFL today. You are just a jealous Pigeion, who can’t handle the fact that your birds have nothing to throw at the Saints anymore. We own you (7 of 8) since Sean got to NOLA. I will say the Falcons will be a tough out next year. Smitty is a rising star coach, and I respect the heck out of him. If Matty stays healthy, the Falcons make the playoffs as a wild card. I expect two tough games next year from you guys. WHO DAT!


March 24th, 2010
4:20 pm

If the networks are OK with the potentially longer games in the next TV contract, will we see this move to the regular season too?


March 24th, 2010
4:42 pm

The new rule is definitely a step in the right direction. To be honest, I’ve ALWAYS hated the Filed Goal in football. If the NFL really wanted to do the right and manly thing, they’d ban the Field Goal altogether. If you think about it, the Filed Goal —and even the Extra Point—bears no relation to the rest of the game—running, passing, blocking, and tackling. None. You might as well have a fan or some guy in a business suit come down down from the stands and kick field goals. Kickers GENERALLY don’t participate in the rest of the game. Occasionally a kicker of them gets in the way on a kick-off return and attempts to tackle a ball carrier, but it darn sure doesn’t happen often. Their uniforms are rarely even smudged. I bet they don’t even have to be laundered after the game. Anyway, FG’s ought to be totally banned. You shouldn’t reward a team for offensive ineptness. The new rule is a step in the right direction. Maybe…someday…the NFL will finish the job and just ban the FG and the EXTRA POINT entirely.

south ga boy

March 24th, 2010
4:58 pm

Great Info on how coaches are feeling around the league, DOL. gotta question a little off topic. Have you heard any inside info (u know, on the downlow) on how the staff and TD feel about JA98. As i have said before, it seems to me that you have to know how you feel about him before deciding the direction in the draft. Ex; if he is our DE or even DE/DT then its hard to see us taking a DE in the draft at any round except maybe a 6th rd flyer on a project. If we are ging to try and trade/cut him then a DE at some point, not necessarily 1st rd, would be appropriate. I realize TD is not going to come over and tell you right out what he’s going to do, but do you have a sense on how they feel about JA98 ?


March 24th, 2010
6:11 pm

south gay boy— thats way off the topic.


March 24th, 2010
9:22 pm

Definitely should make this for regular season as well


March 25th, 2010
11:08 am

That does it for the Falcons. THAT is the ONLY way they have won the few games they won! I don’t agree with this ‘new rule’ regarding this! Then there is a possibility that the football games could go on and on and on and on…I think that the first team to get a score in over time is automatically the winner of the game!


March 25th, 2010
11:10 am

I agree with you Saints/LSU! We are STILL going to beat the pants off those sorry filthy dirty birds…WHO DAT??? :) :) :)

Samantha-Atlanta, GA

March 25th, 2010
11:12 am

Tommy TRUST when I say that teams will not ‘roll over’ the Saints BABY!!! It isn’t our fault that you guys went to the Superbowl (by a miracle) and didn’t win now is it? The Saints ALWAYS HAVE BEEN AND ALWAYS WILL BE a better team than those Falcons!:)


March 25th, 2010
2:41 pm

samantha and pamela—– where ‘yat whodats ?