NFL Overtime Rule Changes

Kudos to the NFL, who passed a 28-4 vote to change the rules governing overtime this upcoming postseason. The new rule change is similar to offering rebuttal in Beirut — the  team who loses the coin toss is given an opportunity to tie the game with a field goal or win the game with a touchdown should the team that wins the coin toss drive downfield and score a field goal. This ultimately puts the emphasis back on putting the ball in the end zone, and levels the playing field in what was an unfair system. Far to often in the past the less deserving team has won a coin toss and completed a lucky pass or two getting them into field goal range. This system was short on both drama and merit.

With the new rule changes passing by such a dramatic margin, I still must ask what took so long? This is a change that has seemed obvious to many fans for quite a long time, but you still must appreciate the NFL’s ability to make tough decisions to improve their league. They are by far the best run major American sporting league, having been able to successfully navigate major issues facing their sport where other leagues have faltered. This is true of revenues, disciplinary issues, steroids, and the rules of the game. In the NBA you have Gilbert Arenas running around the locker room with guns and in baseball you have an entire era of the games best players whose careers have been forever tainted. These are players who don’t even respect the game they are playing, why should we watch them? And in a sport like football, where the benefits of using steroids would likely be maximized, the league was able to tackle the issue effectively saving the sport from suffering an asterisked era as baseball has.

The new rule changes reflect the leadership and structure of the NFL. Up next should be applying the changes to the regular season as well.


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