Today the NFL owners met to discuss the proposed changes to the overtime rule for playoff games. The competition committee recommended it with a 6-2 vote and Goodell threw his support behind it. The proposed changes passed easily, with a 28-4 vote. On yesterday's conference call Jed York said that the 49ers were unsure how they would vote, but they ended up voting for the proposal.
The last is quite the shocker since the rule was proposed at least in part due to the Viking's loss in the NFC championship game.
Right now this rule change is only for overtime games in the playoffs but the owners will vote on extending it to regular season games during their May meeting.
The rule change after the jump...
Both teams must have the opportunity to possess the ball once during the extra period, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession, in which case it is the winner.
• If the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal on its initial possession, the other team shall have the opportunity to possess the ball. If [that team] scores a touchdown on its possession, it is the winner. If the score is tied after [both teams have a] possession, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner.
• If the score is tied at the end of a 15-minute overtime period, or if [the overtime period's] initial possession has not ended, another overtime period will begin, and play will continue until a score is made, regardless of how many 15-minute periods are necessary.
To boil it down. If you score a TD on your opening drive of overtime you win. if you kick a FG the other team has a chance to get the ball and can go for the win with a TD or tie it up with a FG on their drive. If they don't score on their drive the game is over. If they tie it up with a FG then it goes to sudden death and the first team to score (by any method) wins. If it's still tied up at the end of one OT period it goes into multiple overtime periods.
A safety also wins it for the defending team as does an INT returned for a TD or a fumble returned for a TD.
During the regular season there were 13 overtime games. Of those 13 games there were only 5 that might have had a different outcome had these rules been in affect. That's about 1% of regular season games that would be affected by the new rules.
Week 1 Pittsburgh vs Ten. (Pittsburgh wins the toss and scores a FG to win)
Week 5 Denver vs NE (NE loses toss, Denver receives and kicks FG to win)
Week 6 Jacksonville vs St. Louis (St Louis kicks off, Jacksonville wins by a FG)
Week 11 NYG vs Atlanta (Atlanta kicks off to NYG who kick a FG to win)
Week 16 NO vs Tampa Bay (NO kicks off to TB who scores a FG to win)