NFL may change OT rules for playoffs

Updated: March 1, 2010, 12:34 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- An NFL spokesman said Saturday the league could change its overtime format for playoff games at a meeting next month.

Under the new format, both teams would get the ball at least once unless the first team to get the ball scores a touchdown, Greg Aiello said. If the first team to get the ball makes a field goal and the other team ties the game, action would continue until a team scores again.

Under the current rules, the first team to score wins.

"There have been various concepts that have been discussed in recent years, but this one has never been proposed," Aiello said.

The competition committee will discuss the new concept with teams and players at league meetings March 21-24 in Orlando, Fla., when it could come to a vote. At least two thirds of the teams would need to agree to the changes for new rules to be adopted.

The competition committee met with the players' union and players on Thursday during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. Discussion continued when the competition committee met with a general managers' advisory committee on Friday.

The debate about the rules gained steam after the NFC championship game, when New Orleans beat Minnesota 31-28 in overtime and Brett Favre's Vikings never got the ball in the extra period. Under the proposed rule, Minnesota would have gotten another possession because the Vikings didn't allow a touchdown.

Overtime was adopted for regular season games in 1974, a sudden-death format that allowed games to end in a tie if neither team scored in 15 minutes. Overtime for playoff games always has been sudden death.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press