Blog Entry

NFL postseason overtime rules explained

Posted on: January 22, 2012 10:07 pm
We have OT for the second time this postseason (AP)
By Ryan Wilson

The NFL changed the posteason overtime rules prior to the 2010 season but the league didn't have its first overtime playoff game until two weeks ago when the Broncos beat the Steelers on the first play from scrimmage in extra time.

Prior to the rules change, overtime was simply sudden death: first team to score wins. This still holds for all regular-season games, but "modified sudden death" is now the postseason format.

The particulars, via the NFL.

* At the end of regulation time, the referee will immediately toss a coin at the center of the field in accordance with rules pertaining to the usual pregame toss. The captain of the visiting team will call the toss prior to the coin being flipped.

* Following a three-minute intermission after the end of the regulation game, play will be continued in 15-minute periods until a winner is declared. Each team must possess or have the opportunity to possess the ball unless the team that has the ball first scores a touchdown on its initial possession.

Play continues in sudden death until a winner is determined, and the game automatically ends upon any score (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) or when a score is awarded by the referee for a palpably unfair act. Each team has three time-outs per half and all general timing provisions apply as during a regular game. The try is not attempted if a touchdown is scored. Disqualified players are not allowed to return.

* Instant Replay: No challenges. Reviews to be initiated by the replay assistant.

The rules change came about after statistics examined by the competition committee showed that, going back to 1994, teams that win the coin toss also win in overtime 60 percent of the time. Even more compelling: the same data showed that since 1994, the team that won the overtime coin toss won the game 34 percent of the time on the first possession.

"We've had this discussion for a number of years," competition committee co-chairman Rich McKay said back in March 2010. "We feel this year's proposal gave us the opportunity to [install] a pretty good rule. Statistically, we felt it needed to be changed. It wasn't creating the fairest result as far as field goal accuracy, field goal distance and drive starts."

"Plenty of people on the committee, myself included, are so-called traditionalists," former Colts president Bill Polian said. "I am proud to be one. But once you saw the statistics, it became obvious we had to do something."

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Since: Apr 23, 2007
Posted on: March 28, 2012 4:51 pm

NFL postseason overtime rules explained

Palpably unfair act (ie, a player from the opposing team runs off the bench and tackles a player apparently en route to a touchdown). I've never seen this happen in the NFL, but it's happened in the college game.
My question is: does this mean the end of tie games? Will regular season games no longer be limited to just one overtime period?

Since: Jan 14, 2008
Posted on: March 28, 2012 1:02 pm

NFL postseason overtime rules explained

think back to that college game where the guy jumped off the sidelines and tackled the runner.
I gotts to think its some like that.
Or that Bruce Willis movie where the runnung back pulls out a gun and shoots the opposing players for a TD.   

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: March 28, 2012 11:50 am

NFL postseason overtime rules explained

 or when a score is awarded by the referee for a palpably unfair act

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: March 28, 2012 11:49 am

NFL postseason overtime rules explained

 or when a score is awarded by the referee for a palpably unfair act

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