New NFL Overtime Rules: A Different (And Maybe Better) Idea

Matt PoloniCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stands on the field prior to Super Bowl XLIV between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

For the longest time, I've thought that the NFL overtime rules were as good as they could possibly be.

Each team has plenty of time to win the game in regulation, so if one team doesn't get an offensive possession because the other team scored first, it's their own freaking fault for not playing better. After all, if you're team is truly worthy of the win, they'll play well enough that they won't need overtime at all, right?

Apparently, the NFL owners don't completely agree with that sentiment.

In case you haven't heard, they passed the proposed overtime rule change. True, it's only for the postseason right now, but they've agreed to discuss extending its scope to the regular season when they meet again in May.

I'm sure that you're familiar with the proposal, so I won't rehash it here. In the unlikely event that you don't know the details by now, there are plenty of search engines that can find it for you.

I understand the thought process to a certain extent. They want to make it so that overtime isn't decided by a coin flip.

That's all well and good, but this proposal just doesn't feel right to me.

Once again, I'll defer to the internet-at-large to elaborate on that. I'm sure someone out there can put together a better argument than how they feel about it.

But this proposal did give me an idea for a new proposal for overtime that I think would work really well and simplify the process altogether. Of course, I might be a little biased, so I'm submitting it to the masses.

Here it goes.

The Extended Fourth Quarter

The sticking point for me has always been that each team has plenty of time to win the game in regulation, so (in my mind) the emphasis should be on just letting the game play out.

In that light, I propose that we do exactly that. We just let them play the game.

If the game is tied when time expires in the fourth quarter, just reset the play clock and go on as if nothing happened.

There's no coin flip or kickoff, they just play out the drive. If the offensive team scores, they win.

Miss a field goal or fail to convert on fourth down? The other team gets the ball, as usual.

Not in field goal range and too far to go for it on fourth down? Punt it.

There will still be the frantic rush to score by teams that are behind in the waning minutes and seconds of regulation and that intense tension that comes with sudden death. The only differences are the permanent set of zeroes where the game clock used to run and the increased suddenness with which sudden death begins.

I mean, do we really need some convoluted set of rules to make overtime more fair? We just want to watch football. Let's not complicate things.

So...what do you think?


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.