If there’s one thing that we know about the NFL and the Competition Committee, it’s that they really enjoy making and tweaking rules. They made a pretty big change this year—potentially a huge one—when they elected to allow pass interference penalties, whether flagged or not, to be subject to review.
Another proposal that was on the table during the first wave of the annual league meeting sought to make yet another change to the overtime rules. After the Kansas City Chiefs lost in overtime in the AFC Championship Game to the New England Patriots on the opening drive, they proposed a change that would ensure that both teams have the opportunity to possess the football regardless of the outcome of the first drive.
As anybody who has been following me for long enough should be aware, I have long been in support of this rule, because I’ve always found it ridiculous that a field goal would not end a game but a touchdown would. Yes, a touchdown is more difficult to achieve, but the principle is still the same.
the majority of overtimes games in the postseason that have been played since the rule change was made have ended on the opening drive, and that has helped to raise the profile of the rule. You might remember the first game. It was the Tim Tebow game when Demaryius Thomas scored an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While the rule was not passed the last time around, it was tabled for further consideration, and that consideration will take place later this month during the second round of owners meetings, where it could possibly pass in time to be put in place for the 2019 season. At least one member of the Competition Committee, Dallas Cowboys owner Stephon Jones, is on board with it.
“I certainly tend to lean toward the new rule”, he told Mike Florio. “I certainly watched every play of that Kansas City-New England game, and you kind of would have liked to have seen what would have happened if Kansas City got another shot at it, and then how the thing would have ended up. It was football, in my mind, the game at its best. I certainly don’t have a problem with guaranteeing each team a shot at it”.
While he certainly uses the word ‘certainly’ with excessive frequency (I can be guilty of this myself and try to be conscious of it, I think he speaks for a lot of people who have been watching these games, and he believes so as well.
“It’s certainly something that had some traction there in the room, and certainly saw some people who were very interested in it”, Jones said. “But we’ll get on a call there, take a long, hard look at it, and I’m sure membership’s gonna get to see it”.