NFL: 3 Ways the League Can Change Its Overtime System
Sunday's game between the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers ended in a tie. Yes, a tie. Danny Amendola of the Rams thought they were going to play another overtime instead of ending in a tie. Dashon Goldson of the 49ers didn't even know the game could end in a tie.
These examples show why the league needs to change their overtime format. By adding the rule that a field goal during the extra quarter's first possession cannot win overtime, the NFL wants to make the games more competitive. But the league does nothing to even educate its players on how the overtime quarter works.
The NFL needs to change its overtime rules. The fact that a game can end in a tie is terrible. None of the other big three pro sports allow ties, and the NFL needs to follow suit. These are three proposals that the NFL should consider instead of the current format.
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
The football game between Missouri and Tennessee over the weekend showed why college rules can be extremely exciting. Missouri overcame a 14-point deficit to force overtime, where the Tigers won off a field goal in the fourth overtime.
This excitement could prove huge for the NFL.
The NFL should move to college rules because it would nearly guarantee scoring. Every kicker in the league should be able to hit a 47-yard field goal, which would be the starting spot if the ball started on the 30-yard line. It would force defenses to play extremely well and would allow offenses to take some chances. However, one turnover, and the game could be lost.
The problem with college rules is that it turns the overtime strictly into a red-zone offense and defense, which completely changes the way a game is called. Defenses would play much more zone defense, and the offense would focus mostly on the run. It takes away from the strategy of the game, and having the kicker start in field-goal position would be a turnoff for the league. The point of overtime is to end the game, not inflate the kicker's stats.
College rules works in college, but the talent level is just too high in the NFL for it to work consistently. The NFL could approve this rule change, but it would be the least likely to make it out of the three.
Sudden Death, Continuous OT
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Sudden death, continuous OT would be the least radical change the NFL could make. The rules would basically stay the same, and it would even up to the league's discretion to determine just how "sudden death" it wants the final frame to be.
The smartest solution would be to eliminate the field-goal rule and just say that any sort of point ends the game. While fans may not be happy that a 50-yarder could end the game, it is the true definition of sudden death. Or, the league can keep the rule in place and have only a touchdown count for sudden death in the first possession.
However, where the rule changes from the current overtime format is that if the first overtime ends in a tie, it will continue to a second overtime. This would eliminate ties at the end of the game. However, it would significantly tax the players.
A team may only have one or two overtime sessions maximum in a season. But if a team plays two overtime games, and both go to the end of a second overtime session, it's like they have played an entire extra game compared to their rivals, who may not have played in any overtime games. Teams would not be happy, especially if they lost one of the overtime games.
It's not a perfect proposal, but it would be the easiest for the league to implement. It would immediately get rid of ties, which is the reason for the rule changes in the first place.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
This proposal would be a combination of the former two proposals. The hybrid overtime format would be a continuous, sudden death overtime format. However, each team would be guaranteed a possession in overtime. This overtime period would play just like a normal quarter, but once each team has had the ball, it would make it sudden death.
This proposal would focus more on a complete team win rather than one play in particular. If a team gets a touchdown, it must rely on its defense to get the stop in order to get the win. If a defense forces an interception, it has to place its trust in the offense to get some points.
The fans would enjoy this because it extends the overtime session for at least one drive and allows the fans to get what they paid for. The players should like it because its gives the teams a chance to win while not overly exhausting each team in the effort to win. And most importantly, it gets rid of the tie.
Many fans were unhappy with the tie in the Rams-49ers game. The hybrid OT would give both teams the best chance to win, the sudden-death format would be the easiest to implement and college rules would make games more high scoring. But out of all of these, the hybrid OT is the best choice to replace the current NFL OT format.