A radical new overtime rule has been proposed in the NFL and it would force teams to make tough calls

A radical new overtime rule has been proposed in the NFL and it would force teams to make tough calls
Patrick Mahomes.AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann
  • A new overtime proposal could shake up the NFL.
  • According to the proposal, one team would pick the starting yard line, and the other team picks offense or defense.
  • The goal is to lessen the impact of the coin toss on deciding the game.

NFL overtime could be getting another revamp.

According to Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk, the Baltimore Ravens plan to propose a new take on the NFL overtime period that could go a long way in cutting the advantage of winning the opening coin toss.

The Ravens proposal is based on the "spot and choose" concept, where one team will pick the spot of the ball to start the extra period, and the other team will decide if they'd prefer to play offense or defense from that spot.
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The effect of the change is to minimize the impact of the coin toss. As overtime is currently set up, the team winning the game toss will almost always choose possession, as it gives their team the chance to win the game without giving their opponents another possession. With the spot and choose approach, both teams have a hand in their overtime fate.

Once the ball is spotted and possession is set, there are two proposed ways to finish out the game. Under one proposal, the game would go to sudden death, with the first team to score winning, played for a maximum of 10 minutes of extra time. In another proposal, the additional period would last for seven minutes and 30 seconds but instead would be played out in its entirety, rather than the game ending on a score.

According to Florio, a team's own 13-yard line is believed to be the break-even point for spotting the ball. Any further downfield, and the second team is more likely to take possession and further pinned against their own end zone, and the second team would likely elect to defend.
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Given that the theoretical break-even point is already known, overtime might become predictable once again even with the new rule. But even if the 13-yard line became the de facto starting point for teams, there'd likely be some game-specific adjustments made.

A low-scoring game played in terrible weather might see a team opt to put the ball at the 25- or 30-yard line and dare the opposition to score. Meanwhile, if a team is playing against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, they could choose to pin the ball back inside the five-yard line and force Andy Reid to either give them the ball or take possession at their own end zone. Effectively, the start of overtime is turned into a game of chicken between head coaches. Regardless of how teams elected to use the potential new rule, it would undoubtedly work to make overtime as it's currently constructed fairer if adopted.
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