Overtime Reform Has Come! NFL Owners Vote To Change Sudden Death Rules

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Overtime Reform Has Come! NFL Owners Vote To Change Sudden Death Rules

The NFL owners voted to pass the proposal to amend overtime rules on Tuesday by a 28-4 vote. The new rules will only affect the playoffs starting next season, although another vote will occur in May to extend the rules changes to the regular season, as well.

So, what are the changes? Well, they're really minor tweaks, yet they could have big implications on an overtime contest. The first team to get overtime possession will still be determined by coin toss. But whoever gets the ball first can no longer rely on driving 40 or 50 yards down the field and kicking a field goal for the win. The new rule states that if the first team to possess the ball on offense successfully converts a field goal, the opposition has one possession of its own to score. If they tie it up, the old sudden death overtime rules we're familiar with would take effect. If they score a touchdown, the game is over.

The new rule only applies to each team's first possession of overtime. After they've both had the ball, the game is in sudden death.

The current OT rules have been in place since 1974. Since 1994, the team that receives the ball first in overtime has won the game 60% of the team, a margin that the new rules will hopefully decrease, assuming the owners vote to implement them as part of the regular season.

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