After tweaking its overtime rules multiple times over the past 10 years, the NFL might soon be making another change to the rulebook, except this time around, the rule change would potentially revolutionize how OT games are played.
According to Pro Football Talk, the Ravens have proposed a rule that is based around a “spot-and-choose” concept. Under this rule, which would add some serious spice to overtime, one team would choose the yard line where the overtime drive starts and the other team would choose whether they want to play offense or defense.
For instance, if Team A and Team B were playing in overtime and Team A won the coin toss, it would pick any spot on the field where the first drive of OT would start. If it picked the 10-yard line (90 yards away from the end zone), then Team B would get to choose whether it wanted to play offense or defense. The overtime in this proposal would be a 10-minute sudden-death period, which means the first team to score would win the game (If no one scores, the game ends in a tie).
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If Team B starts with the ball on its own 10-yard line and promptly goes three-and-out, that most likely would set up Team A with solid field position and Team A would only need a field goal to win.
Not only would the proposal add an extra element of excitement to overtime, but it would also negate the advantage that any team would get from winning the OT coin toss. Less than 4% of games went into overtime last season (10 out of 256) so if the league is going to make a dramatic change, overtime seems like the spot to do it.
If the NFL‘s 32 owners aren’t ready to pass a wild rule like that, the Ravens also have another OT rule in mind. In the other proposal, overtime would be played over a full 7 minutes, 30 seconds and the team winning after the clock hits zero would be the winner of the game (If no one is winning, the game is a tie).
According to NFL.com, the league is also considering a rule that would simply change the current overtime format back to sudden death. With three proposals on the table, it sounds as if the NFL is definitely giving some serious thought to changing the rules for overtime.
For a proposal to become an NFL rule, it has to get a “yes” vote from 24 of the league’s 32 owners at the next league meeting, which is currently scheduled for March 30-31 (If owners can’t decide whether they like a new rule or not, they will sometimes table the vote until their spring meeting in May).
If any of these OT proposals end up getting voted through, it would mark the third big change to overtime over the past nine years.
Back in March 2012, the NFL modified overtime with a rule change that guaranteed both teams a possession as long as the team that received the overtime kickoff didn’t score a touchdown on its opening drive. Before that rule was instituted, NFL overtimes were sudden death, which means that the first team that scored won the game whether those points came by field goal, safety or touchdown. The rule change in 2012 was actually implemented for playoff games in 2010, but the NFL didn’t make it the rule for all games until two years later.
In 2017, the NFL shortened overtime from 15 minutes down to 10 minutes for preseason and regular-season games.
Changing overtime won’t be the only thing the owners talk about at the end of March. There’s also a proposal that would give teams the option of attempting a fourth-and-15 play in the fourth quarter instead of trying an onside kick. To read more about that equally wild proposal, be sure to click here.