NFL Overtime: Why The Proposed New Rules Won’t Work

March 15, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments

The NFL is considering some changes to its sudden death overtime format for the playoffs in an effort to erase the receiving team’s advantage. You know the concern: a team can win the coin toss, move the ball 40 yards, kick a FG, and win the game before the other team even touches the ball.
First, it’s fair to note that this is in fact a bit of a problem. In 158 overtime games in the past 10 years, the team that receives the overtime kickoff (call it the “receiving team”) has won 61% of the time. That’s enough of a sample size to conclude that no matter the reason, this should probably be fixed. But the NFL’s proposed solution is wrongheaded.
The new rules would guarantee that the team that loses the coin toss (call it the “kicking team”) would get the ball at least once unless the receiving team scores a touchdown (in which case the game would be over). If ...

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