The NFL had four of their top franchise in the league right now competing for the right to play in the championship game in less than two weeks’ time. It would have been hard for them to ask for a much better lineup, with each of the top two seeds in both conferences advancing until the end.
But both of those games true criticism in retrospect because of the way that the NFL’s rules and regulations are set up. In the first game, a non-call that likely would have allowed the New Orleans Saints to win played a key role in the game going the other way. In the evening contest, the game was decided on the opening drive of overtime with the highest-scoring offense in the AFC never getting a chance to touch the ball.
While that is simply what the rules are, it doesn’t have to be that way. After all, the rules were different before. The current playoff overtime format has only been in place since 2011, which no longer allows teams to win simply by kicking a field goal on their opening drive.
But five of the eight postseason games that have gone to overtime since then have still been decided on the opening drive, beginning with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ nightmare scenario against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos in 2011, the New England Patriots being the most recent to do it.
Stephen Jones of the Dallas Cowboys recently seemed to suggest, however, that there is a chance for the overtime rule to be changed once again that would guarantee that both teams get the opportunity to have at least one possession. Or at least a better chance than making pass interference challengeable.
Jones, like the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, is a member of the NFL’s Competition Committee, the primary means through which the league enacts rules changes. Regarding a possible tweak of the overtime rules, he said, “they’ll be looked at again this year after what we saw here”.
“We’ll give this, like we do everything, a very extensive going over. I know you all know this, but the competition probably meets more than any committee in the NFL in terms of work that goes into looking at the rules”.
I’ve already gone on the record in stating that I want to see this changed. I think the league would be well-served by allowing both teams to have at least one opportunity for an offensive possession. Not just in the postseason, but in the regular season as well. And frankly, do away with the change for the regular season that made it only 10 minutes long as well.