PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The NFL is changing its sometimes controversial overtime rules to guarantee each side gets the ball in the playoffs.
Concerned that the coin toss to begin the extra period has too much impact on postseason game results, the owners voted Tuesday to approve a proposal presented by the Colts and Eagles.
Beginning this season, if the team possessing the ball first in overtime scores a touchdown on that series, the opponent still gets a possession. In recent seasons, that touchdown would have ended the game.
The Titans had recommended that both teams possess the ball in overtime unless the team receiving the kickoff scores a touchdown and a 2-point conversion. That would end the game.
But the owners, perhaps believing the Tennessee suggestion was too gimmicky, went with the other proposal.
Under previous rules, the 10-minute overtime in the regular season only continued if the team getting the ball first failed to score or kicked a field goal. Should the side receiving the kickoff make a field goal, the team that first played defense would get a possession in which it can score a touchdown and win, or kick a field goal and play would continue — if time allowed.
In the postseason, when there are no ties, overtimes continue until someone has more points.
Since the previous overtime rule was instituted for the regular season in 2012, the team that wins the coin toss has won the game half of the time (76 of 152 games). However, both teams have had at least one possession in 82% of the games (124 of 152).
Those numbers change a bit in the postseason. Since 2010, when that rule was instituted for the playoffs, seven of the 12 overtime games have been won on an opening possession touchdown, and 10 of 12 have been won by the team that won the coin toss.