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Consequences of modifed sudden death




Unintended consequences of the new rule (that we see) are:

  • Overtime can end on an unspectacular loss on downs, or worse, a measurement.
  • Now, imagine a team is short on fourth down by measurement, the other team begins to celebrate a win, and the replay booth challenges the first-down spot — and the offense gets the first down! That is going to be an ugly scene, with a capital UGLY!
  • There is less risk in tying the game at the conclusion of regulation, rather than boldly going for the lead.
  • A team scoring the opening-possession field goal can follow up with an onside kick, ending the game if they recover (OK, that would be kinda cool, I suppose).
  • The inequity supposedly created by the kickoff return offering field-goal prime field position is not remedied if both teams score field goals on their first possessions. This is because the next possession is sudden death, and it begins with the oh-so-dreaded kickoff.
  • Defensive errors, magnified in overtime, can be softened when a second chance is awarded after surrendering a field goal.
  • Somehow, a single drive in overtime ending in a field goal is unacceptable, but a game-winning field goal that breaks a tie at the expiration of the fourth quarter is just fine without a retaliatory possession by the losing team.

We will be adding to this list as a stream of consciousness. Add your suggestions in the comments.

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)