On Now
Coming Up
  • There are no Events to display in this category.

News

Insider Blog: Overtime Format Under the Microscope

Posted Mar 22, 2010

The 32 NFL Owners will vote on an overtime format change this week, needing a 75% approval rate for passage.

To pro football fans in Kansas City, hearing grumblings over the NFL’s current overtime format isn’t anything new. Up until 2009’s OT victory vs. Pittsburgh, the Chiefs had lost five-straight overtime games. Six years of overtime struggles were coupled and put to rest that day vs. the Steelers.

One of the primary reasons to propose changes to the NFL's overtime format is a statistic which shows that winners of the OT coin toss determine the game victor at nearly a 60% clip. That message has come out the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando and the NFL’s competition committee is once again serious about a possible overtime shift.

On Sunday, the eight-person competition committee passed the amount of votes necessary for league ownership to discuss, debate and vote upon an overtime rules change for 2010. Most expect that vote to come down by Wednesday, with a 75% approval rate (24 votes) necessary for passage.

It should also be noted that, if passed, changes to the overtime format would only take place in playoff games during a one-season experiment. After the 2010 playoffs, further and more permanent changes would be discussed.

The changes to the NFL overtime policy, however, aren’t what most believe them to be.

A common misconception is that the NFL will ditch the coin toss, sudden death OT format, for the rules current being implemented in the college game – ball on the 25-yard line with even possessions until a difference is score is reached. That’s not the case with the NFL’s proposal for 2010.

If passed, the NFL will take on a quasi-college look for overtime, but the pro game will still stand apart with it’s own set of rules. Under the proposal, the first team to score in overtime would win immediately, but only if the score was a touchdown. A field goal would give the opposing team the ball with a chance for victory.

That club could win the game with a touchdown or extend it with a field goal. If extended with a field goal, the current sudden-death overtime rules would apply. Kickoffs will still begin overtime periods.

Supporters of the proposal point to the inevitable that one day a Super Bowl “will be determined by a coin toss,” with a system that clearly favors the team which secures overtime’s first possession. That’s a worst-case scenario, but it bears significant consideration under the current set of rules.

Those against the proposal generally don’t think that the game needs to be tinkered. Changes to rules policies in other sports have often caused more trouble than they’ve cured, plus both teams currently see possessions in over 65% of overtime games. An overtime rule change was shot down as recently as 2007.

Then there are those who believe that overtime needs an overhaul, but that coin tosses have nothing to do with the problem. In this line of thinking, the coins are innocent victims amongst an imperfect setting of rules.

As we know by now, since the league moved the kickoff position back five yards to the 30-yard line in 1994, the winners of the coin toss are winning nearly six of every 10 overtime contests. But when kickoffs were at the 35-yard line from 1974-93, overtime coin toss winners did not hold any predictable advantage. In fact, those teams only won 46.8% of the time.

Just where do you stand in regards to overtime changes? For the Chiefs, overtime in general hasn’t been kind to Kansas City.

CHIEFS IN OVERTIME GAMES

Over the past 50 seasons the Chiefs/Texans have played in three playoff overtime games (2-1 record) and 29 regular season overtime affairs (11-16-2 mark). The NFL instituted a 15:00 overtime period for regular season contests in 1974.

Date -- Opponent -- Flip Winner -- Result -- Game-Winning Score

12/23/62* -- @ Houston -- Texans# -- W 20-17 -- Brooker, 25-yard FG

12/25/71+ -- MIAMI -- Chiefs -- L 24-27 -- Yepremian, 37-yard FG

11/23/75 -- DETROIT -- Lions -- W 24-21 -- Stenerud, 25-yard FG

10/17/76 -- @ Miami -- Chiefs -- W 20-17 -- Stenerud, 34-yard FG

9/24/78 -- DENVER -- Broncos -- L 17-23 -- Preston, 1-yard run

11/12/78 -- @ SD -- Chiefs -- L 23-29 -- Jefferson, 14-yard pass

11/8/81 -- CHICAGO -- Bears -- L 13-16 -- Roveto, 22-yard FG

10/23/83 -- @ Houston -- Chiefs -- W 13-10 -- Lowery, 41-yard FG

11/27/83 -- @ SEA -- Seahawks -- L 48-51 -- Johnson, 42-yard FG

12/6/87 -- @ Cincinnati -- Bengals -- L 27-30 -- Breech, 32-yard FG

10/2/88 -- @ NY Jets -- Chiefs -- T 17-17 -- N/A

11/19/89 -- @ Cleveland -- Browns -- T 10-10 -- N/A

12/8/91 -- SAN DIEGO -- Chiefs -- W 20-17 -- Lowery, 18-yard FG

9/20/92 -- @ Houston -- Chiefs -- L 20-23 -- Del Greco, 39-yard FG

1/8/94** -- PIT-- Chiefs -- W 27-24 -- Lowery, 32-yard FG

12/4/94 -- DENVER -- Broncos -- L 17-20 -- Elam, 34-yard FG

9/10/95 -- NY GIANTS -- Chiefs -- W 20-17 -- Elliott, 23-yard FG

9/17/95 -- OAK -- Chiefs -- W 23-17 -- Hasty, 64-yard INT return

10/9/95 -- SD -- Chargers -- W 29-23 -- Vanover, 86-yard return

9/28/97 -- SEA -- Seahawks -- W 20-17 -- Stoyanovich, 41-yard FG

1/2/00 -- OAKLAND -- Raiders -- L 38-41 -- Nedney, 33-yard FG

9/10/00 -- @ TEN -- Titans -- L 14-17 -- Del Greco, 36-yard FG

12/16/01 -- DENVER -- Broncos -- W 26-23 -- Peterson, 32-yard FG

9/22/02 -- @ NE -- Patriots -- L 38-41 -- Vinatieri, 35-yard FG

10/20/02 -- DENVER -- Broncos -- L 34-37 -- Elam, 25-yard FG

10/12/03 -- @ GB -- Chiefs -- W 40-34 -- Kennison, 51-yard pass

9/17/06 -- @ Denver -- Broncos -- L 6-9 -- Elam, 39-yard FG

12/3/06 -- @ Cleveland -- Chiefs -- L 28-31 -- Dawson, 33-yard FG

12/30/07 -- @ NY Jets -- Jets -- L 10-13 -- Nugent, 43-yard FG

11/2/08 -- TAMPA -- Buccaneers -- L 27-30 -- Bryant, 34-yard FG

10/11/09 -- DALLAS -- Chiefs -- L 20-26 -- Austin, 60-yard pass

11/22/09 -- PIT-- Steelers -- W 27-24 -- Succop, 22-yard FG

* 1962 AFL Championship Game

# Texans captain Abner Haynes elected to “kick to the clock”

+ 1971 AFC Divisional Playoff Game (longest game in NFL history)

** 1993 AFC Wild Card Playoff Game

Print
RSS