For the second straight postseason, there’s a conversation beginning about the overtime rule in the NFL. Everyone remembers that after the AFC Championship game, there was an uproar about the Kansas City Chiefs not getting an opportunity on offense against the New England Patriots.
Fast forward almost one year later and a similar situation happened on Sunday afternoon with the Minnesota Vikings controlling the football and finding the endzone with a touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph. Was there a clear push off by the Vikings tight end? Sure looked like it, but that’s not the point about this column.
There are two schools of thought about the overtime rule in the NFL: one is that the system is broken and needs to change and the other is that if you want an opportunity on offense in overtime then you need to stop the other team to give yourself that chance. Both of these ideas have good points, but what if we were to start the discussion of how to change the NFL’s overtime rule ten years after the Garrett Hartley game-winning field goal in the NFC title game created what’s been called by many to be the “Brett Favre rule”?
After the Saints overtime loss, I sat down for a moment and thought about other overtime options that would still be entertaining (sorry, field goals being like penalty kicks in soccer isn’t in this) and I came up with three of them.
Option A: College Football With a Twist
If fans want to see both teams have the football, the way college football does it right now is the best substitution. However, I’ll propose this idea; both teams will each have a possession starting at the opposing team’s 25-yard line and will have four downs to score a touchdown. No field goals, just touchdowns.
One of the big complaints about overtime in college football is the fact that there’s a chance for a seven-overtime game a la LSU-Texas A&M to occur and this might fix that issue.
Option B: Option A But Longer Field to Work With
I really like the idea of Option A, but I think if you put each team at the 40-yard line you create a lot more intrigue. Both teams still have only four downs to score but this time field goals return to the overtime proposal.
The pratfall is still there for multiple overtimes, but adding field goals to the equation should fix that problem.
Option C: 10-Minute Overtime
This might be the one that changes everything about football’s overtime by taking from other sports. In basketball, they only play five minute periods and if the game isn’t tied the game ends. Same with soccer, they play out the two reduced halves and a winner is determined (in knockout stages of course).
The third proposal has the best of all worlds, both teams will have a chance at the football and you might not need multiple overtime periods like in the previous two options.