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Debate Friday: New OT Rules

The biggest news to come out of the NFL's annual meeting was the change to the overtime system. At the moment, regular season overtime games will still be decided via sudden death, but the playoffs are another story.

From now on, both teams could have at least one chance to score, unless the team with the ball first scores a touchdown (in which case, the game ends like in sudden death). If they kick a field goal, the other team gets the ball. If that team ties the game with a field goal, the game proceeds and the first team to score thereafter wins.

Sound complicated? It could be, especially if other scoring scenarios occur (does a two-point safety win the game, for instance?). The vote was overwhelmingly in favor (only four teams voted "no") and the league could further consider the issue and its potential ramifications at future league meetings.

In the meantime, the NFL has new rules for players, coaches, officials, and fans to learn, and there's been plenty of debate already on both sides. Here are some of the major points we've heard on the subject:

Pros

  • It's more equitable, as there's now a chance that both sides could have a possession
  • More teams could go for touchdowns instead of field goals
  • It adds intrigue to coaching decisions in overtime, and possibly at the end of regulation
  • It adds excitement to playoff games

Cons

  • At the moment, the regular season format is different from postseason
  • The team getting the ball second has the advantage of knowing whether to play for a field goal or a touchdown
  • Many coaches say it adds an element of more stressful decision-making and extra situations to practice
  • Complicated scenarios could lead to uncertainty (e.g., What if the team that kicks off goes for an onside kick – is that considered a possession?)

So, what do you think now that you've read some of the arguments? Let us know by casting your vote in this week's Debate Friday poll.

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