NFL overtime rules change, but only in this scenario

by: Dara Bitler, Jeremy Tanner, Nexstar Multimedia Cable

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DENVER (KDVR) — The National Football League is changing overtime rules after a vote by owners on Tuesday.

The rule change will only apply to playoff games, the NFL said. The vote took place over fears that the draw would have too much influence on the outcome of the overtime playoffs.

The change will begin this coming season. Here’s how it will work:

  • If the team with the ball first in overtime scores a touchdown on that series, the opponent still gets possession.

Prior to the rule change, a touchdown on the first possession would have ended the game.

This second overtime possession would extend beyond the initial 15-minute period if necessary. If that team tied the game, then it would become sudden death.

The proposal to change the overtime rules has been requested by the Colts and Eagles.

Two months ago, a coin toss ended a thrilling quarterback game between Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs.

Allen and Mahomes traded touchdowns in a flurry of points that left the two teams tied at the end of regulation. Thanks to overtime rules, however – and Mahomes’ clutch performance – the Chiefs won the toss and drove 75 yards down the field to score a touchdown. Allen never got a chance to touch the ball, and the Bills’ playoff hopes died.

Rich McKay, Falcons president and chairman of the competition committee, admitted that Kansas City’s January win over Buffalo in the first OT series was a factor in the owners’ ballot. He said the idea won well over the required 24 votes, but would not reveal exact numbers.

The rule change is designed to rectify skewed statistics recorded after the previous playoff OT rule went into effect in 2010: seven of twelve overtime games were won on first possession and 10 of 12 by the team that won the coin toss.

“That data was compelling for us and for the league,” McKay said. “An amendment has been added (to the original Colts and Eagles proposal) to not make a change in the regular season, but in the playoffs, which is where our problem is primarily.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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