The NFL’s overtime rules have been the source of no shortage of controversy over the years. Big games have ended without one team touching the ball repeatedly—remember, both teams get a shot unless one scores a touchdown—including a certain Super Bowl I really don’t want to talk about. It’s evident that many teams, fans and players think the current way things work isn’t great.
Three teams have put forth proposals to change the way overtime works, and those proposals will be reviewed in upcoming league meetings. The Colts and Eagles are simply suggesting that both teams get an opportunity to have the ball in overtime, while the Titans are going further and saying both teams should get the ball unless the first team to possess it scores both a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
2022 club rules proposals are in. Competition Committee proposals to follow next week.— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) March 16, 2022
Check out what was proposed: pic.twitter.com/Z1iAYcfHnW
Neither of these proposals are perfect. If both teams get the ball and score a touchdown, it’s just a tie that takes a little longer to happen, but it still feels more equitable for both squads to get a shot at that. The latter proposal from the Titans has the same issue as the rules today: Defenses are usually incredibly gassed by overtime, so teams will be tempted to go for that two point try to end the game immediately and will likely have a lot of success doing so. Still, the added degree of difficulty involved with ending the game on a single drive may be appealing.
The argument against changing the rules is, in essence, get good. Proponents of keeping it point out that teams can still stop opponents or hold them to a field goal to ensure they get the ball back and an opportunity to win. As I said, defenses are usually in rough shape in overtime and this is thus easier said than done, but it’s still a fair point.
From my perspective, it’d be nice if games did not end up coming down in large part to the vagaries of a coin flip, but we’ll see if either of these proposals gain traction with the league. The chances of the NFL landing on a proposal that works well and makes everyone happy seem slim, as always, but I’m up for trying something new.