Fair Overtime Rules Shouldn’t Be This Hard For The NFL

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Tony proposes a new approach to the NFL’s overtime rule.

Lost in the excitement of the announcement that Kansas City will host the NFL draft in 2023 was the NFL’s decision to pass on the Chiefs’ proposal to give both teams the chance to have the ball in overtime. The frustration is understandable. It’s very possible that the Chiefs would have won the Super Bowl had they had the opportunity to get Mahomes the ball in overtime in the AFC Championship Game.

But there’s no reason why the NFL has to jump through so many hoops to have a fair overtime. There are a number of possible solutions that are more fair than the current method.

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The most popular alternative is to go to a system similar to college, where each team gets the ball on the opponent’s 25 and can score either a touchdown or a field goal (or nothing), and both teams get a shot. Whoever scores more points wins, and if they score the same amount they do it again. Another option is to simply give one team the ball normally, and if they score give the other team a chance to score as well, and if they also score then give the other team the opportunity to score etc.

The biggest problems with these sorts of solutions is the time. In the regular season the NFL is very picky with how long the games last. Since Sundays have games back-to-back-to-back, often on the same network. The NFL doesn’t want games going on forever and conflicting with other games. These solutions could be used just for the postseason however, where the NFL cares more about determining a fair outcome and less about the time.

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But there is a better solution, one that could be used both in the regular season and the postseason. I don’t know if it has a formal name, but I call it the Bidding System. It works like this:

Before overtime starts, both coaches tell the refs a yard line. So like “own 25” or “opponent’s 40”. These are their bids, and whoever bids the worst field position gets the ball on the yard line they bid, with the first team to score winning. In this example the team that bid “own 25” would win and get the ball on their own 25.

If both teams bid the same yard line it would go back to a coin flip.

This system is 100% fair because you can never complain about the other team getting the ball first. Imagine this system in the AFC Championship Game, where the Patriots got the ball because they bid their own 20 while the Chiefs bid their own 25. If the Chiefs tried to complain that they never got the ball then it could be pointed out that if they want the ball so badly they could have bid their own 19.

This also satisfies the time requirement, since in this regard it’s no different than the current system. Give the team who won the ball, put 10 minutes on the clock, and if nobody scores then it goes down as a tie.

Unfortunately the NFL seems to be allergic to good ideas, so this will probably never happen. The silver lining is that it will give people like me who like to complain on the internet plenty of ammunition.

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ProfChesterTQ
ProfChesterTQ

As for OT, they should forgo the coin-toss and if teams are tied at regualtion, play simply continues until the first team scores; ie a kin to a bonus quarter (rather than the current ‘new half’)–this would give advantage to the team that last held the lead; as it should, imho.
But if the NFL is insistent on a ‘new half’ or current system, simply do away with a random coin toss and instead give the team that last held the lead first choice for OT kickoff.

ProfChesterTQ
ProfChesterTQ

also to help avoid OT situations in the first place… eliminate XP kick during regular play and require mandatory scrimmage play from the 2-yard line worth only 1-pt.

This creates a system where a TD is worth 2 FGs (fair) and the extra try would serve as an internal tie-breaker rendered mostly useless but in close games (ie first one would have to score 3 TDs in a game and convert all three to even equate to a FG; if one team scored 1 more TD than the other, the trailing team would have had to score 6 TDs and converted all the extra-trys to even matter). Plus the mandatory 2-yd play makes it more mano-a-mano method/reward beyond the statistical/mathematical implications… yada yada yada

ProfChesterTQ
ProfChesterTQ

Here’s the other reality that all the OT talk ignores… if two highly trained professional football teams slug it out for 60 minutes and find themselves still tied… it is a DRAW… there is no winner; creating any additional system to determine one overlooks the toe-to-toe battle that had just previously occurred. (I realize that the playoffs require a team to advance, so you have to have some sort of contraption for aesthetics)

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NHChiefsfan
NHChiefsfan

That has to the longest running GIF I have ever seen. lol

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs

I love good ideas. This is not one, sadly.
Even if it was in place & the Pats bid their own one, do you think we stop them? No, not a chance.
It’s fine like it is.. Touchdowns win games, FG drag it out. Learn to play defense. Granted, the game has tilted towards offense, but since games (other than ours) aren’t 50-48 all the time, SOMEONE can still play D.

Tyrone
Tyrone

I just had a totally different idea for playoff OT.

If:

  1. The NFL doesn’t want to change the format of OT – a format that favours the team that receives the ball first
  2. It is “unfair” for one team to get an advantage by having the option of getting the ball first

Why not embrace the unfair advantage? If a playoff game goes into over time, instead of a coin flip, let the higher seeded team choose if they want the ball.

No one complains that “it was unfair that X team won the Super Bowl because they had a first round bye, and played the divisional round and conference round on their home ground.” they earned the right to have those advantages, so give them this one extra potential advantage.

This way you don’t have to change much, and you take the luck factor out of it.

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs

OR…team that got it first, gets it again. So, like a possession arrow in basketball, receive first (likely because you lost the toss) gets you the ball first in OT (effectively “winning” the coin toss). That would work for all games. So perhaps in CG at least, a team winning the toss will take the ball first instead of deferring as is the norm so they can get it in OT if it comes to that.

ArrowheadRed
ArrowheadRed

I like OT the way it is. I don’t want every OT to last 15 minutes, and I hate the college OT system.

The bid idea eliminates a kickoff. I like the kickoff. I want to keep it.

Andy Reid should have bled the clock and given Brady the ball with less than 1 minute left. Andy chose to score quickly and kick away. Andy could have tried to win the AFCC game in Regulation. He chose to tie and flip a coin. All the Chiefs had to do was hold the Patriots to a FG. Instead, they allowed Rex Burkhead to keep KC out of the Super Bowl.

A pathetic Defensive performance or poor clock management does not necessitate a rule change.

Tyrone
Tyrone

You’re looking at it from just a one game example. Maybe the Chiefs should have won the game in regulation. That doesn’t change the face that the current OT rules favour the team who wins the coin toss.

Slayer0810
Slayer0810

^ This.

People clearly agree with this in principle, even if they don’t realize it, because otherwise I would see more advocates for not having overtime. If, in fact, the be-all-end-all argument is “they should have won it in regulation”, why should we ever have OT? That’s not a good argument, IMO, but it’s at least logically consistent.

If you aren’t arguing against overtime altogether, we can now have the discussion on how to make OT fair. But saying we should leave OT unfair just because “they should have won it in regulation” is silly.

BigBill
BigBill

With the current system if a team has a good D (say top 7 in regard to 75+ yards to TD allowance), then that team would likely be better off kicking off during OT. That way you see what your opponent has done and what you need to match (or exceed). Quick three and out, get good field position and kick a FG. Or give up a FG then there are four active downs to match or score a TD. On the other hand when the team is great on O and mostly crap on D, the current system is great because if you get the ball first and score a TD then it doesn’t matter about your D. I like the idea of having the OT only end when time hits 0:00. The team with the most points would win at that point regardless of amount of possessions. If the game is still tied after the first OT, then sudden death with the team that kicked off at the start of first OT receiving at the start of sudden death. If players don’t want to go through “physical hell” of OT then they should use it as motivation to put their opponents away before regulation ends.

Tyrone
Tyrone

I’m a traditionalist. I hate anything “gimmicky”, like the college OT system. I would prefer if they just kept playing until one team failed to score as many points as the other team.

legal_kush
legal_kush

Jesus H. Christ! We’re STILL pissing and moaning over this? Isn’t your AFCCG participation ribbon enough for you?

The Chiefs went 3&out for virtually the entire first half, and somehow some of you get your tightie-whities in a bunch and up your camel toe and decide it was a coin toss that cost them the game?

Grow up.

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs

It was Dee Ford! Where have you been?

Simtex
Simtex

Calling out Dee? that’s a step over the line….

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs

Ba-da-BING!

Slayer0810
Slayer0810

The Chiefs went 3&out for virtually the entire first half

Would you also care to mention that “virtually the entire first half” consisted of all of three short drives because our defense couldn’t stop anything and so the Patriots had the ball for 21 of the 30 minutes in the half? No? I thought not. It’s easier to ignore facts when they’re not in agreement with your narrative.

Could the offense have been better in the AFCCG? Sure. But expecting to go in and run over a Bill Belichick playoff defense is naive, and our offense did end up scoring 31. By the end of the game, most people assumed that whoever got the ball in OT would go on to win, because neither defense was stopping the other offense consistently.

It’s reasonable (though I disagree in this context) to argue that the overtime discussion is irrelevant because the Chiefs could have won in regulation if they had played better. But to pretend like the loss is primarily on the offense is disingenuous at best.

Armychiefj
Armychiefj

I hate the college system. It is complete inane. We don’t need complicated schemes. A simple 10 or 15 minute overtime period is completely reasonable at least for the playoffs. You want it to go to sudden death after both teams have one possession, fine, but lets just play football without weird shenanigans.

(also: if there isn’t a super troopers gif posted under this within 10 minutes, what are we even doing here, AG?)

01lowbird

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Anthony Stratton

I think Tony just has a gambling problem.

01lowbird

We aren’t allowed to talk about that but did you get the invite to the intervention?

Anthony Stratton

Yes and shhhhhhh.

MasterChief
MasterChief

I think it’s fair if each team gets a guaranteed possession in OT. If they both end up with the same points after that, then first team to score wins. If a team doesn’t like the outcome, they shoulda scored more in the first place.

vvet818
vvet818

As I recall the game is 60 minutes long and half-time was like 12 minutes (yes, I am THAT old) so as far as a time issue, blame tv (read $$$$). Some kind of fairer system could and should be incorporated, I don’t care what kind, as long as BOTH teams get to touch the ball at least once.

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Armychiefj
Armychiefj

rec for schitts creek

workingmansdead

Chiefs lose an overtime game and all the fans act like there’s a conspiracy. lol

Leaf
Leaf

I don’t think anyone thinks it’s a conspiracy. We lost that game fair and square according to the current rule system. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a fairer system.

01lowbird

I think the fact that a coin flip decided the game is the issue at hand.
“Chiefs D should have stopped the Pats” is what Ive heard a lot and while thats true, is it not fair that the Pats D should have had to stop the Chiefs Offense?

01lowbird

Fairsies is Fairsies

KCChef
KCChef

But where’s the ” Elevensies ” ? … : )

workingmansdead

A coin flip did not determine the game.

01lowbird

Did the Pats win the coin flip?

workingmansdead

Was the game over after it was determined the Pats won the coin toss? Come on.

01lowbird

Pats won the coin flip and won the game in the next possession.
How is that fair?

workingmansdead

The Chiefs had a chance to stop the game from ending on that possession. The coin flip did not determine the game.

01lowbird

But it did.

“Chiefs D should have stopped the Pats” is what Ive heard a lot and while thats true, is it not fair that the Pats D should have had to stop the Chiefs Offense?

ERGO, the Coin Flip determined who got the ball and who won the game because both offenses did not get a chance to score, nor did both defenses get a chance to stop.

KCChef
KCChef

Ahhh… But the DEFENSE had a chance to score as well & Failed to do so … ; )

Slayer0810
Slayer0810

Yes. Literally anyone who watched that game knew the game was going to be won by whichever team won the toss.

Anthony Stratton

Nope, but it does give a statistically proven advantage to winning the game, as shown by the historical trends analyzing the % of teams who win after winning the coin flip.

So with that alone said, do you think its fair to give one team better odds of winning based on the outcome of a coin flip?

workingmansdead

Well, historically, it was the first team to score any points that won in OT. So that’s a major skew to the historical data.

Anthony Stratton

Even in light of the current rules, the advantage goes to the winner.

workingmansdead

To answer your question, yeah I think there is a fairer way to do it. It just kinda drives me crazy when nobody says anything about it until it hurt the Chiefs. (I know wustl has mentioned it before, but in general)

Anthony Stratton

TBH I don’t think thats the case. We’ve all had these overtime discussions as long as I can remember.

And the league has been tinkering with it for years too, tbh. Should we be salty with the Saints for proposing that PI’s can be challenged because they didn’t like how a rule cost them a game?

Mitko
Mitko

I like this idea.
Another one: Both teams start at the 10 yard line and get 4 plays to convert ( No FGs). If both teams make it, then it goes down to 3 plays, then 2 plays, then 1 play, then moves back 5 yards

BleedingRedAndGold

I can’t advocate for any particular change regarding overtime, but I remember the reluctance in the air when the proposal to change from absolute sudden death to the current system that initially requites a TD for sudden death to apply on the first possession. As we can see, the change didn’t ruin the game, and arguably improved it.

That said, the NFL is indeed oddly reluctant to change certain things, when you consider how they like to meddle with others, such as the rules applying to Pass Interference and what constitutes a catch. I’m still of the opinion that a big part of the reason the officiating being so inconsistent has been how often those rules have been changed in recent years. For judgement calls like those you simply can’t keep changing and changing and keep everyone on the same page. What rapid and continuous changes to those have done is wreck any sort of consensus the referees might have on how to call them and prevent that consensus from returning. The rules can never be detailed enough to cover all situations, so without consensus, the interpretations will necessarily be all over the place.

On top of this the NFL is still suspicious of any ideas that come from outside the owners’ organization. The exception of the changes made WRT hits to the head proves the rule, because if they hadn’t made those changes, the NFL might well have already faced legal action that’d shut down the league entirely, and they aren’t necessarily out of those woods yet.

BleedingRedAndGold

Another good idea that the NFL should be all over adopting ASAP is how the AAF handled replay review. Even if you find the reviews themselves to be boring, it at least kept the microphone meatheads from telling the fans all about how the review “should” be made. Their jaw-jacking adds nothing to the game while subtracting fans’ trust of the refs, which is problematic enough as it is, even with the likes of Triplett gone from their ranks.

Even worse is when their jabbering creates controversies that shouldn’t even exist, based on nothing more than their interpretation of the replay, be it good or bad. That’s a screw-job on the fans by the broadcasters by way of misleading them. There’s nothing positive about that kind of dishonesty without accountability.

slackator
slackator

hardest of passes. How about leave it the way it is and teams realize there are 3 facets to the game Offense, Defense, and Special Teams? Too often Reid only believes that the offense exists and then you end up with what happened in the AFC Championship

Mitko
Mitko

I would have agreed with you a decade ago on this, but with recent rule changes and a focus on offense in the NFL, not so much. You add in the fact that defenses are more exhausted at the end of the game and the coin flip has a much bigger impact. I study was done serveral years ago and offenses that got the ball first have a much higher chance of winning than the opponent. Its actually even worse in College OT rules

tsv0728
tsv0728

Lol…you would end up with some terrible bidding blunders as coaches figured it out. It would be hilarious to listen in on the conversations as they decide what to bid and why. You don’t want to give your opponent too short of a field if you can’t make a first down, but you damn sure want the ball. It would be an easy system to implement without really changing important rules. I can’t really think of any downsides, though if you slap a little game theory on it, there are probably a very limited numbers of sensible choices. Maybe even just two, so it would effectively become a coin flip anyway.

stjoechief
stjoechief

I was presuming the other team would get the ball at the position they bid, as well.

stjoechief
stjoechief

I like this. Therefore it will never happen because the NFL is addicted to coin tosses.