March 23, 2017

National Football League competition committee considers shorter overtimes

21 March 2017, 01:22 | Pamela Mathis

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Among the proposals the committee will put forth are a ban on defensive players leaping over the line of scrimmage on field goals and extra point attempts, shortening the overtime period to 10 minutes and the implementation of full-time officials, according to multiple reports.

Last year, the NFL's competition committee passed a rule in which players would be automatically ejected from a game if they received two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

According to NFL Research, 22 of of the 83 overtime games that have been played since 2012 have gone on for more than 10 minutes, which means those games would've presumably ended in a tie if the new rule had already been implemented.

However, under the possible change, 15-minute overtime periods would remain in place for playoff games. Or why not eliminate the "both teams get a possession" rule?

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The better approach would be to simply get rid of the two-possession rule for regular season games.

All 32 National Football League owners will vote on any proposed rule change, with 24 votes required for passage. That alone could create a negative view of these rule changes. Team owners will have their annual meeting at the end of March to discuss potential league changes.

The NFL is considering the change for regular-season games because the league wants teams to be on an even playing field for Thursday night games. This could be one of the main reasons that the proposal was presented, though it isn't guaranteed to pass once it reaches the voting stage.

The NFL competition committee also is considering hiring full-time referees in 2017, ESPN's Kevin Seifert reported Monday. This makes it unsurprising that members of the media, who have to report on the games and broadcast them live, are also ready to cut down on how long the overtime periods can extend in preseason. However, if more teams start having ties because of the change, the rule will need to be repealed.

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