Four Corners: How should NFL owners vote on a new OT rule?

March 22, 2010

Numbers aren't there
Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

In the NFL, you need to be able to count to 24 - as in the 24 votes required to get a proposal passed - and I don't think this overtime initiative will get that many. A previous two-possession proposal got just 18 votes, and another one about moving the overtime kickoff spot got fewer than that. A lot of owners are very resistant to making any changes, much less dramatic ones.

This overtime proposal is interesting, hinging on the notion that, because of the increasing accuracy and range of kickers, the coin-flip winner has a significant advantage. But this proposal has its drawbacks, too. It gives an advantage to the team that gets the second possession, increases the number of plays and takes away some of the excitement of sudden death.

I think at least eight owners will be opposed to that, so I don't think the proposal will pass. Nor do I think it should.

sfarmer@tribune.com

Do it for all games
Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

I believe the NFL owners will pass the overtime proposal (barely) because they want to quell the perception that the current rules are not fair to the team that loses the coin toss. This, I suppose, is a good thing.

But the proposal on the table doesn't go far enough. The rule should not apply just to postseason games, it should apply to all games. All rules should. But the unfortunate reality is that this is probably the only way any overtime modification can be passed. There remains a bloc of people who believe the game is fine the way it is, and they are resistant to any significant change.

At least this could be a start - in subsequent years the overtime rules in regular-season games need to be addressed too.

dpompei@tribune.com

Bet on status quo
Kevin Van Valkenburg

Baltimore Sun

The NFL should change its overtime rules so that each team gets at least one possession, but it won't. At best, we'll get a rule change where it takes a touchdown to win, but even that is highly unlikely.

Why? The NFL likes the status quo. It loathes change. And coaches are terrified of being forced to put their necks on the line, deciding whether to kick or go for it. The system is flawed, but it's likely here to stay. Even the fact that media darling Brett Favre happened to lose in overtime of the NFC championship game when the Saints won the coin flip isn't enough to alter the landscape.

You need 24 votes to change the rule, and rumor is there is nowhere near that much support for this proposal. We're stuck with what we've got. Either way, someone should make sure Donovan McNabb knows what to expect.

kvanvalkenburg2@tribune.com

Don't go too far
Ethan J. Skolnick

Sun Sentinel

The team that scores more points in regulation wins 100 percent of the time. So there should be no sympathy for those who have lost in sudden death. Get the job done in the first 60 minutes and leave nothing to chance.

Still, it does seem that sentiment is finally switching to the side of change, and even over the repeatedly stated objections of Commissioner Roger Goodell, and even though it would subject owners' expensive employees to potentially longer games, and more potential injuries.

But if there is change, the key is not to go too far. The college approach is an endless farce. Avoid that. The most recent proposal makes the most sense: If a team allows a field goal, it gets one possession to try to end the game with a touchdown.

eskolnick@tribune.com

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