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Remember, the NFL has brand new overtime rules for the playoffs

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Concudan, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Meh... Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 5, 2006
    Remember, the NFL has brand new overtime rules for the playoffs - Shutdown Corner - NFL  - Yahoo! Sports

    At the time the NFL announced it would change the overtime format for the playoffs, the idea seemed like a misguided overreaction to the NFC championship game, which ended on a first-possession field goal in overtime thanks to Brett Favre's(notes) penchant for throwing crippling interceptions in the biggest of spots. But now that the rule (which states that a team winning the toss can't end the game on a field goal on the opening drive) could be used in a few days, a number of other things have become evident: One, beginning a brand new format in the playoffs could be a major issue. Two, there are just as many problems with the new rule as the old one.

    For example, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh explained (via the New York Times) why deferring the opening kickoff might be a good idea:

    So let's say you win the toss, kick a field goal, kickoff to your opponent and get them into a fourth-and-15 backed up in their own territory. You're feeling pretty good. Then they convert a first down. Later in the drive, that opponent has a fourth-and-2 from midfield and converts again. Eventually this leads to a game-winning touchdown. How is that any fairer than the old rule? In both cases, the defense fails. But with the new system, the coin toss-winning defense has to stop the offense in four downs rather than three.

    Not that any team is going to defer (for the time being, at least). The mere suggestion that Rex Ryan would consider doing so inspired so much backlash that he had to come out and say that the Jets would take the ball if they won the toss in overtime this week.

    How would a team even know whether deferring is a good idea? It's not like any coach has ever been in a game situation involving these rules. Like or hate the new overtime rules, the fact that they're getting its trial run during the playoffs is insane. Whenever the rule comes into play, it will be the first time any NFL coach has ever dealt with it. What better time to test something out than in the biggest stage in the sport? Roger Goodell thinks ending a Super Bowl with a field goal on the first possession is bad? How about ending a Super Bowl with a new rule that nobody in football has ever had to deal with before?

    Let's take a step back and think about this for a minute: A new format that fundamentally changes the game is being instituted before the playoffs without any testing. Only the NFL could get away with that. Can you imagine if Bud Selig tried to do this in baseball. Maybe before the playoffs he issued a decree that a team has to win by two runs in extra innings. He'd be mocked in every sports column and on every sports station in America. The NFL does it and nobody bats an eyelid. Flippantly changing a rule that's been in use for 40 years and giving it no trial period? Sure, why not!

    All this carping may be for naught, though. The new rule wouldn't have been used in 89 percent of the NFL's overtime games during the regular season. There were 19 games that went into extra time in 2010 and both teams got possession in 17 of them. The other two games might have used the new format, as the team winning the toss kicked a field goal on the first possession. In the playoffs, that means their opponents would have gotten the ball back. Or would they have?

    In the first OT game decided by a field goal on the first possession this year, the New York Jets kicked a field goal on third down to defeat the Detroit Lions. In the other game, those same Lions had third-and-2 at the Tampa 17-yard line and ran the ball to the middle of the field to set up a 34-yard field goal by Dave Rayner(notes). Both teams were playing for the field goal, not for the touchdown. With the postseason rules in effect, the game plans would have been different. Since a touchdown wins the game and a field goal gives the other team the ball back, the Jets wouldn't have kicked on third down and Detroit wouldn't have set up the kick. They'd have been trying to get into the end zone. Maybe the end result would have been the same, but the path to get there would have changed.

    The regular-season overtime rule isn't perfect; it's far from it, in fact. But neither is this one. And that's the thing: giving another team possession after a field goal isn't going to end the complaining. Teams still want to win the toss, a touchdown on the first possession still wins it and now there's the added concern that a team getting the ball after an opening field goal has the advantage of using all four downs. If anything, the carping about overtime rules will get louder now.

    Of course, that's assuming said rules get used this year at all.
  2. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

    Mar 13, 2006
    i like the rule but i agree that it's stupid to only do it in the playoffs. Needs to be a regular season rule as well.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. ntman68

    ntman68 Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    I dislike this rule greatly.
  4. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

    Aug 15, 2006
    Remember, they're gay and I hate them. Did they at least name it the "Poor Widdle Peyton" rule?

    *in b4 some team who deserved to lose gets "screwed" by the new rules*
  5. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

    Aug 14, 2008
    It does add something to overtime strategy. If I'm the Steelers or Ravens, I let the other team have it because I'm confident that my defense can prevent them from scoring a touchdown. If I'm the Colts or the Patrios, I guess you have to take it and let loose on the opponent like before.

    That said, I'm not in favor of the rule change. A field goal in sudden death meant a lot before and there was no reason to take that away. If it isn't broken, don't try to fix it.
  6. MasterOfPuppets

    MasterOfPuppets Charger fan since 1979

    Aug 8, 2006
    I want to see the packers (or another team that plays the eagles) kick a FG in the opening drive of OT, then have DeShawn Jackson run back the ensuing kickoff to the house but just as he's showboating his way into the endzon he flips the ball out of the back of the endzone before breaking the plane, touchback, gameover, eagles lose
  7. Fouts

    Fouts Butt hurt

    Aug 17, 2007
    I'll take the under on the number of teams deferring the kickoff in OT!! LOL

    Isn't the % of winner in OT close to 50% whether you get the ball first or not? Or close enough, and if it is close enough, that is why they have the coin toss, to throw some luck in the mix. I know I am nervous waiting to see if the Chargers win the coin toss, to get the ball first, makes it kind of fun.

    Edit: On first inspection, I do not like this rule, but most people don't like change regarding most matters. I will keep an open mind, and see how it plays out in the playoffs to make my final decision on whether I like it or not. Not that my opinion matters to the NFL... hehe
  8. sdbound

    sdbound Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Hopefully this rule jumps up and bites the Colts and the Patriots in the ***. Fingers crossed.

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