clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Could The NFL's Overtime Rule Change Again?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Norm Hall/Getty Images

Following the 2009-10 season, the powers that be in the National Football League changed the rules for the overtime period from "sudden death" to the current format. The current format states that if the team that gets the ball first in overtime scores a field goal on their first possession, the other team gets a chance to have the ball and an opportunity to tie the game with a field goal or win with a touchdown. If the first possession of overtime ends with a touchdown, the game ends.

The change came about, at least partially, because of the 2009 NFC Championship Game, which the Minnesota Vikings lost in overtime without an opportunity to have the football in the extra frame. The vote to pass the new rule that offseason was passed by a margin of 28-4. . .with the Vikings being one of the four votes against changing the rule. Now, after the divisional round of the 2015 NFL playoffs, the debate has come up again.

On Saturday night, the Arizona Cardinals defeated the Green Bay Packers 26-20, in overtime, to advance to Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Carolina Panthers. Arizona took the opening kickoff of overtime and, in just four plays, marched down the field and scored a touchdown, ending the game. Following the game, a couple of prominent Green Bay players expressed their dissatisfaction with the way overtime is done in the NFL.

"Yeah it’s tough, we’ve lost a few of these over the years where you don’t touch the ball in overtime. It’s just the way it goes. It comes down to a coin flip sometimes after a long, hard fought game, back and forth, plays made – bizarre plays made by both teams –and unfortunately it comes down to that." - Aaron Rodgerspost-game press conference

Strangely enough, the Chicago Bears proposed a rule this last offseason that would have guaranteed each team getting a possession in overtime. The Packers voted against it. Granted, only three teams voted for it, but it's interesting how quickly the tune changes.

This is likely going to be something that gets brought up. . .again. . .at the next meeting that decides these sorts of things. I'm not sure if any sort of change will actually come of it, but perhaps the NFL might be compelled to change things now that one of the right teams has been affected by the issue.