Overtime in the NFL might change in 2010

Allow me to give a short lecture. It will consume three minutes of your life:

One of the more powerful non-owner committees in the NFL is the Competition Committee, and rightfully so. Without a sense of fair competitive balance, a professional sports league is truly and completely useless. It becomes nothing more than mindless entertainment on par with reality TV shows featuring a Hilton, a Kardashian, or the like. Lack of competitive balance is why pro basketball is bankrupt and the MLB is a sham. Cook-off contests on Food Network offer more balance and true competitive intrigue than either of these leagues.

Seriously, why should a fan invest any money in a league system like the NBA's which seemingly encourages teams to "tank" when they know their season is "over?"

Contrast this with the 2009 Tennessee Titans. They started 0-6, but did you see the team and its owner start "tanking" the season so they could get a clean shot at a top five pick? Did you see them start shedding payroll or making trades because they knew the chances of making the post-season were pretty much zero?

No. You saw them win eight of their last ten games, narrowly missing the post-season. You saw them fight, scrap, kick, and claw their way back into relevance.

Despite looking like dog meat to start the season, the Titans gave fans something to cheer about to end the season. They were able to do this because the NFL system works. It encourages and rewards competitiveness. Such a novel concept, I know. This is why Monday Night Football games often get better ratings than World Series games, thank you very much. Competitive balance is everything, and one of the reasons the NFL has competitive balance is their rather powerful Competition Committee does a good job balancing league rules to meet the needs of the 21st century game.

So, with all that self-important NFL grandstanding now said, we get to the meat of this article: Overtime. This is from my new "soul mate" Mike Florio:

As expected, the NFL's Competition Committee will propose at next week's league meetings (which will be held not in Maui but at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando) a change to the overtime rules.

The new rule, as previously reported by many, will allow the team that receives the kickoff to start overtime to win the game only by scoring a touchdown. At that point, the game would end without the other team getting the ball -- and without an extra point being attempted.

If the team that receives the kickoff scores a field goal, the other team would then get the ball. A field goal by the other team would then extend the game, making it truly sudden death. Failure to score at all would end the game, as would a touchdown by the team that kicked off to start overtime.

I actually think this sort of change is not bad.If you surrender a TD on the opening drive of OT, um yeah... you suck. Your team does not deserve a chance to match that. However, allowing a team to match a FG is a good idea. My hope is that if they implement this that it is done from pre-season all the way through to the Super Bowl. I'd barf if this were only implemented for the playoffs.

So, again, we have another strong case where the Competition Committee reviews old rules and looks for better solutions rather than simply sitting back on "tradition." I respect that. Just as all those people complained about the "emphasize" of pass interference rules following the 2003 season, the results were a better, more enjoyable league. I mean, it doesn't take a friggin expert to know that we all enjoy watching QBs throw passes to receivers. We do not enjoy watching DBs dry-hump receivers up and down the field.

By all means, weigh in on these new proposed OT rules. Oh, and in case your head is permanently lodged into the sand beneath your feet, Colts president Bill Polian is on the NFL Competition Committee.

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