In one of the most memorable Super Bowls in the past decade, the New England Patriots came back from a 25 point deficit to bring the Super Bowl to the first overtime ever. The Patriots won the OT coin toss and chose to receive the ball. They proceed to drive down the field and win the Super Bowl. The Atlanta offence was never able to step on the field. After this incredible game and numerous games ending in overtime in recent seasons, coaches, players, and fans are asking for the NFL to reconsider their OT rules.
Over the course of NFL seasons, many games lead to a dramatic finish and lead into an extended period. Many teams who lose the coin toss don’t get the chance to step on the field to try and score. The majority of overtime games are finished in the first few minutes of the period when the starting team has the ball and eventually scores. The current rule for overtime is stated from sportingnews.com: “Each team must possess, or have the opportunity to possess the ball. The exception: if the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown on the opening possession it’s over”. Allowing each team a chance to possess the ball and get a chance to score will give each team an even chance to win. The proposed change to the rule would allow this to happen while keeping the other rules in OT the same.
NFL Owners and Coaches alike have come to an agreement that the OT rules are fair and should not be altered. But in recent years many athletes and coaches who have been on the losing side of the overtime rules have joined together to pitch an idea to change the OT rules. They have agreed that whoever wins the coin toss has a better chance to win the game. Both sides of the ball should get a chance to beat the opposing team, they say, and allowing both teams a chance to score will make overtime more exciting since most games end in a single drive after the coin toss.
While in this scenario, both teams have a chance to get the ball; it is highly unlikely the defence will prevent the offence from scoring. In order for the other time to get a chance to score, they must stop the offence. This is difficult if the team has a powerful offence, but a struggling defence. According to Ross Tucker of SiriusXM NFL Radio from profootballtalk.com “52.7% of teams winning the overtime coin toss (and receiving) win the game at some point in overtime”. Many NFL Playoff games in recent years have resulted in an extended period, with many teams ending their seasons after a single offensive drive by the opposing team. The NFL needs to reconsider this rule and make it fair so that every side of the ball get a chance to win the game.