FanDuel - WFBC

January 05, 2011

New overtime rules for playoffs start this weekend: Essentially, it's just that the first possession of the OT cannot end in a field goal, unless the kicking team recovers the opening kickoff (onside kick for the opening, anyone?).

posted by NoMich to football at 10:58 AM - 17 comments

What if time expires while the second possession is still underway? It's not likely, but 8 or 9 minute drives are not unheard of.

posted by Rock Steady at 12:18 PM on January 05

I imagine the result would be the same as if a team were down by a field goal in the fourth quarter and had the ball when time expired.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 12:32 PM on January 05

it's just that the first possession of the OT cannot end the game on a field goal

Oops, sorry for the poor wording in the post.

posted by NoMich at 01:07 PM on January 05

While I have never liked the fact that one team may never get to touch the ball in overtime, I still feel that they pay the defense to play too. Stop them.

I know the below is alot of info, but the numbers are not that one sided in my opinion. Also, I think the new rule completely changes your coaching strategy and the plan you have followed all year. Being a situational thing, I also think the team with a bye has more time to be prepared for the new rules.

Some stats::
There have been 445 overtime games in regular-season play since the rule was adopted in 1974

RESULTS FROM 1974-2009:

445 regular-season overtime games
240 times the team which won the toss won the game (53.9%)
188 times the team which lost the toss won the game (42.2%)
17 games ended tied (3.8%). Last time: Nov. 16, 2008, Philadelphia 13 at Cincinnati 13

POSSESSIONS FROM 1974-2009:

310 times both teams had at least one possession (69.7%)
135 times the team which won the toss drove for winning score (100 FG, 35 TD)
(30.3%)

SCORING FROM 1974-2009:

312 games were decided by a field goal (70.1%)
114 games were decided by a touchdown (25.6%)
2 games were decided by a safety (0.45%)
17 games ended tied (3.8%).

Of the 445 overtime games, there were 13 miscellaneous situations in which non-standard possessions took place:

9 times the defense or special teams won without registering an official possession (5 INT, 2 blocked punts, 1 FR, 1 blocked FG) (2.0%)
1 times the special teams forced a fumble on the opening kickoff and drove for winning score (0.23%)
1 times the punting team recovered a muffed punt and drove for winning score with team muffing punt having no official possessions (0.23%)
2 times the team that won the toss elected to kick and the team receiving the ball drove for winning score (0.45%)

Know that was alot of info, Sorry

posted by Debo270 at 01:11 PM on January 05

What if time expires while the second possession is still underway? It's not likely, but 8 or 9 minute drives are not unheard of.

I don't really know if there is a rule in place that covers an end-of-time situation. Under the old rules, if no team had scored, it was "play on". Would a team trailing by a field goal and driving for a score have time expire? In regulation time, it would, but now that you have special rules, what happens?

On a related subject, the new rules affect coaching decisions in overtime. No linger is it an automatic decision to receive the kick off. Perhaps your defense has been doing well, and you feel you will ultimately get better field position by kicking. How about an onside kick after scoring a field goal? Recover it, and it's game over. Greg Bedard looks at it in today's Boston Globe.

posted by Howard_T at 02:41 PM on January 05

From the story: If neither team scores on its first possession of overtime, the game is sudden death from there.

Huh? If the team with first possession does not score on its opening drive, it is sudden death from there, right?

posted by graymatters at 02:51 PM on January 05

No linger is it an automatic decision to receive the kick off.

I still think it is. Score a touchdown and you win the game. If your defense has truly been playing well then they should be able to hold the other team if the offense falters.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 03:39 PM on January 05

Conversely, what do you do on a 4th and 1, on the 10 yard line, if your defense has been playing terribly? Go for the three or keep pushing for a TD?

Also, do you try an onside kick to start off an OT? 'Cause a field goal will win it for you if you are able to cover the kickoff.

posted by NoMich at 04:39 PM on January 05

Also, do you try an onside kick to start off an OT? 'Cause a field goal will win it for you if you are able to cover the kickoff.

However, if you don't recover the onside kick, then you've set up the opposition with great field position to end the game with a winning touchdown.

You have to do the math. Which is the greater chance:

- odds that defense can stop opposition from scoring at touchdown if they start from your 40 yard line

- odds that your special teams can recover the onside kick AND your offense can move it 30 yards to get into position for a field goal

posted by grum@work at 04:47 PM on January 05

From the story: If neither team scores on its first possession of overtime, the game is sudden death from there.

Huh? If the team with first possession does not score on its opening drive, it is sudden death from there, right?

Yes. The idea was to give both teams one chance to have possession, as opposed to when New Orleans defeated Minnesota to win the NFC championship last season by winning the toss and kicking a field goal on its possession.

If the defense scores on the first possession, as Arizona did against Green Bay last season, it still will be game over.

posted by jjzucal at 05:52 PM on January 05

I still think they should abandon the sudden death format of overtime. Play an extra quarter. If it's still tied, play another. If it's still tied after that, let the kickers decide it by starting at the 30 and moving back 5 yards until someone misses. If they both miss at the same spot, they both kick again from the same place. If they both miss again, move forward 5 yards. These wouldn't just be kicker and holder situations, either. It'd be a regulation play, the defense can try to block the kick. I'd even be open for the offense to run a fake, but they'd have to score a TD for it to count.

posted by cabuki at 05:37 AM on January 06

I still think they should abandon the sudden death format of overtime. Play an extra quarter.

There is no way the teams would go for this. I cannot find the statistics right now, but even in the regular season following an overtime game in the current format, teams going to overtime lose a good bit more than they win the following week. The teams want to get off the field as soon as possible, not play another full quarter (or more) and shoot themselves in the foot for the next matchup with more wear and tear and perhaps injuries.

posted by bender at 10:46 AM on January 06

I still like using the college rule with modifications to accommodate the improved skills of the professionals. It will never happen. It's not because teams do not want to wear themselves out by playing significant extra time, nor is it because anyone feels it would be unfair. The simple reason is that the broadcasters of the game need a certain "time certainty" so that their schedules might not be greatly disrupted. What's more important (in the eyes of a network executive), an on-time broadcast of 60 Minutes or a non-gimmicked end to a football game?

posted by Howard_T at 02:50 PM on January 06

I don't buy that. If the NFL wanted to do some other format for overtime, I do not see the tv networks stopping them.

posted by bender at 04:35 PM on January 06

There's no reason to change the rules. It may seem arbitrary and unfair to lose without getting the ball in overtime, but there already was an everybody-gets-a-chance situation: the regular game. Losing in overtime is your punishment for not winning in regulation (and for not playing good special teams and defense in overtime).

Thanks to Debo270's stats, we see that the team that wins the toss wins the game 53.9% of the time and both teams get the ball 70% of the time. That's fair enough.

I'm a Vikings fan, and I hated losing the NFC Championship the way the Vikes did last year, but those are the rules. (And the Vikings voted against this rule change.)

If it's still tied after that, let the kickers decide it by starting at the 30 and moving back 5 yards until someone misses.

That will never, ever, ever happen, and it shouldn't.

posted by kirkaracha at 11:26 AM on January 07

I'm glad they changed the rules. Kicking a field goal is too easy for it to decide an overtime game on the first possession. I hope they extend it to the regular season.

posted by rcade at 12:47 PM on January 07

I have to agree with Kirkaracha. They pay the defensive players too. Keep it how it is. The whole, "ITS NOT FAIR" complain doesnt do it for me.

posted by Debo270 at 12:55 PM on January 07

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