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Nothing on the table, but OT remains on Competition Committee agenda



The NFL homepage ran an Associated Press story quoting the Rich McKay, Falcons president and Competition Committee co-chairman. As it does almost every year, according to the commissioner, the Competition Committee is looking into the competitive balance of the current sudden-death overtime format. The committee met in Indianapolis before the Scouting Combine and are currently adjourned until March.

The review will likely lead to no change in the overtime rules. If there is a change, it would be nothing more than moving the overtime kickoff forward five yards.

Three reasons lead me to believe there is no change: (1) there is no formal proposal submitted for a specific rule change; (2) coaches still favor the system as it has existed since it was implemented in 1974; (3) Jeff Fisher, Titans head coach and the other committee co-chairman, is encouraging more study into any possible changes.

The one thing that keeps coming up is the idea that the coin flip determines the outcome. Of course, this discounts the role of the defense and the special teams—all important parts of a balanced team. However, I propose doing away with the coin flip and giving the option to the team that was last in the lead. In other words, if your team caused the tie, it is the same as if your team lost the coin flip. This also eliminates the possibility of a team tying in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, winning the toss, and scoring on the first possession of overtime.

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)