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New OT Rules in Effect for Playoffs

Jan 3, 2011 – 5:02 PM
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Ray Glier

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If your coach wins the toss before overtime this weekend and elects to kick off, please, don't throw a brick through the television screen. The game is no longer 100 percent sudden death.

The NFL voted in a new overtime rule last March. The team that has the ball first will have to score six points to end the game on its first possession. If the first team scores only three points, then the opponent will have a chance to kick a field goal to tie or score a touchdown to win.

If the game is still tied after each team has gotten a chance to have the ball in overtime, then it is back to sudden death.

"I think you'll pay attention to how the game is progressing," Sean Payton, the New Orleans coach said Monday when asked about his tactics for OT. "How the first four quarters have gone would predicate your decision on how you would handle it."

Payton was very vocal last March against the modified overtime when the owners, over objections of some coaches, voted to implement the new rules for this postseason. Payton's team. remember, won a coin toss to start overtime last year against Minnesota. The Saints marched in for a field goal and were off to the Super Bowl. Unfair as heck.

What's more, if you have been watching some of these games, especially the games played indoors, field goals are flying long distances. The rule makes sense.

There is a coin toss, three completions, long field goal, game over.

This way, both teams get a crack at it, as if the NFL needed more drama in its game, which are usually decided by one or two scores.

If the team with the ball first has to punt, or there is a turnover, it goes right to sudden death.
Filed under: Sports