The NFL Finally Fixed Overtime

By adopting last year’s playoff overtime rules for the entire season, the NFL has finally solved a problem that has plagued football for years.

NFL owners have passed the playoff overtime rule for the regular season.

All games that go to overtime now can’t end on a field goal on the first possession. The opposing team must get one series, and if it also kicks a field goal, the extra period continues.

Via sportsillustrated.cnn.com

It took the league long enough, but the NFL has finally made the common-sense decision and adopted the system it implemented in last year’s playoffs. This is great for three reasons:

1. It eliminates the common knock against NFL overtime, which is that the coin toss pretty much decides it. (The accuracy of this is debatable, but belief is widespread enough that it doesn’t matter.) A team can still win in a first-and-only-possession situation, but it requires a touchdown, making such an event far less likely.

2. It encourages teams to play for touchdowns. In the former system, overtime offense involved grinding out enough yards to get into field goal range and then casually punching it through the uprights. With the new rules, that’s still an option; it’s just that, if you elect to play conservatively, the other team gets a shot to either tie it up or win, giving an incentive to try and score seven — and play exciting football.

3. It isn’t college rules. NCAA overtime is the stupidest institutionalized system in sports this side of penalty-kick shootouts in soccer. By putting each team on the 25-yard-line, it turns the game being played into something with only a passing resemblance to real football, eliminating special teams entirely and vast components of both offense and defense. You might as well let players settle the game with a quick round of golf.

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