Opinion: The NFL should ditch their overtime rules

QUINTIN JAMES

Staff Writer

The NFL should look into changing their rules for overtime periods. The current NFL rules in overtime allot one 10-minute period, and if the team who possesses the ball first scores a touchdown, they win. If they have to punt or make a field goal, the opposing team would need to score a touchdown to win. If each side kicks a field goal to begin overtime, the next score wins the game.

If time runs out and both teams are still tied, the game ends in a tie. The problem with this is that with 10-minute quarters, overtimes usually consist of one team having the ball for most of the period. If they don’t score a touchdown, the other team has minimal time to score on their possession in overtime.

Ties in sports games are frustrating because you want a clear-cut winner at the end of the game and if you have to play overtime, the best result would be if there were no ties. Ties can ruin and diminish a good game and in a sport like football, ties can affect standings and records come the end of the season.

People tend to not want to see a three-hour game that lasts an extra 30 minutes end in a tie. There are other ways the NFL can do overtime where everyone is happy at the end of the day.

The NFL should look to change their overtime rule to a college format where each team gets a possession starting at the opposing team’s 25-yard line without a clock running. This ensures each team gets the ball and has a realistic chance of scoring.

If both teams score a touchdown, they go to another overtime. After the second overtime, teams have to go for a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown. This is a lot more exciting because if the game goes into multiple overtimes, teams can score a touchdown but still lose the game if they don’t convert the two-point conversion.

College football overtimes can take multiple overtimes to find a winner, and the fact that there will be a winner instead of potentially a tie is more intriguing than the NFL’s current overtime format. This rule came into play over the weekend for the University of Buffalo in their game against Western Michigan. The game extended to seven overtimes and resulted in a final score of 71-68.

The NFL changed their format from a 15-minute quarter to a 10-minute quarter, and it doesn’t make much sense as to why they did. Two NFL games last week went to overtime and both overtimes were lacking in excitement. The first game between the Jets and Browns was an overtime game that saw the Browns hold the ball for most of the overtime until they had to punt and give the ball to the Jets. The Jets punted the ball, and it went 60 yards to pin the Browns in their own territory and after a Browns punt, the Jets kicked a field goal to win after a very forgettable overtime period.

The second overtime game was the 49ers against the Cardinals and, though overtime in that game wasn’t slow paced like the Jets/Browns game, a college style format would have been a little more entertaining to watch.

If the NFL wants more offense and higher scoring games, they need to think about changing their overtime rules so that both teams have a chance to score with no chance at a tie. If the NFL changed their overtime format to a college-like format, it would go over well with fans and players alike.

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