NFL overtime rules changes are coming if the league’s competition committee gets its way. After fan complaints that games were taking too long to complete their overtime periods, the league may be ready to overreact. Much like Major League Baseball undertook ideas to speed up the pace of the game, the National Football League is about to try the same thing. A rule that the competition committee is presenting would shorten overtime periods and seek to bring game results to the public even faster.
A report by NBC Sports states that the league owners will soon be voting on a proposal to shorten NFL overtime periods to just 10 minutes of game time. Typically, the NFL overtime periods have been 15 minutes in length, mimicking the first four quarters of each game. Recently, the league also shifted the overtime rules to make sure that each team has an opportunity to score. That rule change also stemmed from complaints, where fans and the Green Bay Packers whined about losing to field goal kicks in the extra period.
The report explained that 83 overtime games have taken place over the past five NFL seasons, with 22 of those overtime periods lasting for more than 10 minutes. That breaks down to less than two percent of all regular season games, suggesting that this proposed rule change won’t have a huge overall impact on the league. It could certainly affect some games, though, potentially leading to many more NFL ties than has taken place in the past. That alone could create a negative view of these rule changes.
The NFL overtime rules are fresh in the minds of many fans, as the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons just went to an extra session in the last Super Bowl. The Patriots ended up scoring a touchdown to win the game, shocking the football world by completing the largest comeback in Super Bowl history. Now the rules governing overtime periods could be in for a big shift, especially if the owners all agree that a rule change would serve to benefit teams that are forced to play in Thursday night games.
A report by NFL.com columnist Judy Battista underscored how a potential disadvantage may already be in place for teams playing in an overtime period on Sunday. If a team is forced to play an extra 15-minute period on Sunday, followed by another game four days later (on Thursday), then that team would be placed in a tough situation. This could be one of the main reasons that the proposal was presented, though it isn’t guaranteed to pass once it reaches the voting stage. Would the owners agree with the players on this issue?
Another report was also posted by Judy Battista, as she stated that there has been a lot of “hatred” for preseason NFL games that go to overtime. While there are certainly arguments that rookies and training camp invites could use that extra time to prove they deserve to be on NFL rosters, preseason overtime periods are something that veterans have complained about for years. This makes it unsurprising that members of the media, who have to report on the games and broadcast them live, are also ready to cut down on how long the overtime periods can extend in preseason.
One of the biggest drawbacks to shortening the overtime periods is that more games could result in a tie. Not only are ties something that most NFL fans despise, but ties make it more difficult for fans to project what teams need to do to clinch playoff spots in the final weeks of the regular season. Ties muddle the standings as well, giving inexact results when it comes to the head-to-head divisional matchups. Ties are exactly what is in store for fans, though, if the new overtime rules changes are approved by the owners.
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