EXPECT EXTRA-LONG EXTRA POINT: NFL owners approve PAT rule changes for 2015 season | Kickers moved back 15 yards | Defensive scoring opportunity created
The NFL has been tinkering with the PAT in hopes of making it a more difficult and therefore entertaining play for spectators. Continue reading →
Owners voted Wednesday at the NFL Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., to adopt the postseason overtime modified sudden death format in the regular season as well. Teams now will have the opportunity to possess the ball at least once in the extra period unless the team that receives the overtime kickoff scores a touchdown on its first possession.
Here’s a look at the NFL’s overtime procedures for both the regular season and playoffs under the new decision:
MODIFIED SUDDEN DEATH
The modified sudden death system of determining the winner shall prevail when the score is tied at the end of regulation playing time of NFL games. The system guarantees each team a possession or the opportunity to possess, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession.
» 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.
» Possession: Actual possession of the ball with complete control. The defense gains possession when it catches, intercepts, or recovers a loose ball.
» Opportunity to possess: The opportunity to possess occurs only during kicking plays. A kickoff is an opportunity to possess for the receiving team. If the kicking team legally recovers the kick, the receiving team is considered to have had its opportunity. A punt or a field goal that crosses the line of scrimmage and is muffed by the receiving team is considered to be an opportunity to possess for the receivers. Normal touching rules by the kicking team apply.
Following are the Approved Rulings pertaining to overtime as found on pages 106-108 of the 2010 Official Casebook of the NFL:
RULE 16-SUDDEN DEATH
Depending on what NFL owners agree to at next week’s league meetings, teams might be able to regain the services of a player who was seriously injured during the regular season, the trade deadline could be moved, overtime policies could become uniform and the penalty for having too many men on the field could be altered.
The NFL Competition Committee announced during a conference call Wednesday that it will introduce multiple rule changes and bylaw proposals to ownership next week in Palm Beach, Fla., including the following:
» Making the penalty for having too many men on the field a dead-ball foul. This stems from an incident that took place during the most recent Super Bowl. With the New York Giants‘ defense illegally having 12 men on the field, the New England Patriots ran a play and wound up losing valuable time, although they gained 5 yards. The new proposal would immediately stop the play and make it a 5-yard infraction.
» Making the playoff overtime rules, which give one team possession in overtime should the team that had the ball first kick a field goal, also apply during the regular season. Coaches would prefer a uniform approach to this so they can prepare the same way in the playoffs as they do during the regular season. The existing regular-season rule allows a team to win in sudden death, should it kick a field goal on the opening possession.
» Allowing a player who’s seriously hurt after the first week of the season to be placed on injured reserve and return later that season. Teams tend to place a player with a significant injury sustained early in the season on IR to open a roster spot, ending the injured player’s season. In this instance — think Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant in 2010, when he hurt his foot — a player who has been placed on IR could be designated to return in the future.
» Having replays viewed solely by the official in the booth, not the referee on the field. “This proposal will definitely spark some discussion,” Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons and chairman of the committee, told The Associated Press about possibly taking away review responsibilities from the refs. “We developed our system based on the last time we had replay. That’s how we developed the referee to be the decision maker.”
» Automatically having turnovers reviewed.
For any rules to be changed, 24 of the 32 teams have to vote for approval of these and other suggestions from the competition committee.
Courtesy: Steve Wyche | National Football League Senior Writer
The Associated Press also contributed to this report.