NFL Over Time Rule Changes; Not Any Better

I didn’t think the NFL’s overtime policy could get any worse.  I was wrong.  On Tuesday the NFL owners voted 28-4 on rule changes having to do with NFL overtime rules.  Starting next postseason, the team that wins the coin toss and then kicks a field goal does not have immediate victory.  A touchdown will do it.  A field goal will not.  If the team that wins the coin toss does kick a field goal the opposing team gets a shot to answer or to win with a touchdown.  If both teams end up with their own field goals play will continue with the current “sudden-death” rules.

This seems to me like a very conservative and silly way of trying to liven up overtime.  I heavily dislike the current NFL regular season overtime rules (this rule change will only be used in the postseason.)  I don’t love the college system but the “start at the twenty” rule does make the overtime games a lot more exciting and doesn’t put all the pressure on winning the coin toss.

This rule change silly and confusing.  Overtime will take on a coaching challenge and as much as that strategic play intrigues me, I would much rather just watch a full fifteen-minute period of football.  Teams have played a full seventy-five minutes before and no one has ever died of exhaustion (I didn’t fact check that though.)

The overtime system will change in time though.  This rule change is just a quick change to test the waters.  Fans have been getting very confused and upset, “How did we lose?  My team never touched the ball!”  This rule change is the NFL’s response to that.  I’m not sure fan reaction will be very positive though.

Why try this out in the playoffs?  The regular season is basically a playoff anyway.  Every game means something.  Why not test it out in the preseason?  It would bring in more of your casual football fan.  “Let’s watch preseason football.”  “Why?  Is Chad Johnson kicking a field goal again?”  “Maybe, but it’s this new rule change I’m wondering about.”  It would be similar to the way the NHL demonstrated shootouts in the preseason of the 2005-2006 season.  But really that gimmick might not even be enough for the average fan to watch his or her favorite players get injured for no reason.

This rule may be a monstrous success but I doubt it.  It’s a work in progress in my mind……..but hell, what do I know?  I’m not one of the guys in charge of the multi-billion dollar juggernaut that is the National Football League.  (I am looking for employment though if they are interested.)