NFL owners table overtime change

Updated: May 25, 2010, 8:46 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

IRVING, Texas -- The NFL isn't ready to expand the new overtime rule to the regular season.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday the issue was tabled during owners meetings in the Dallas area. He said the league wants to continue talking to players.

In the regular season, though, the old first-team-to-score-wins rule will be in effect.

"I think the membership felt and the competition committee felt we had addressed the issue we wanted this offseason with respect to the postseason," Goodell said. "We want to continue to talk to our players."

Owners voted in March to change the sudden-death rule for the playoffs. If the team that loses the coin flip immediately gives up a field goal, that team will get a chance to score either to tie or win.

But there wasn't enough support for the proposal to warrant a vote, sources told ESPN.com's John Clayton.

Goodell said owners also discussed upcoming labor negotiations with the players. The current contract expires at the end of the 2010 season.

Goodell said a major talking point is expanding the 16-game regular season to 18 games, which probably would lead to the elimination of two preseason games. Like the risky decision to play the Super Bowl outside in a cold-weather city, Goodell views the expanded regular season as a way to grow the NFL.

"I think we have to continue to look at ways to improve what we're doing," Goodell said. "It's been very clear to us and not only our fans but also from our players that the quality of the preseason and the desire to participate in the preseason is not at the level it should be. And we have to address that issue."

The NFL is seeking to expand drug testing to include human growth hormone, but would do so through labor discussions, Goodell said.

Although the league recently signed a deal with Anheuser-Busch worth more than $1 billion, Tuesday's meetings served as the launch of several programs with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to promote responsible drinking.

MADD officials will speak at the league's rookie symposium, and will run pilot programs on game days in Buffalo and Oakland. There will be other promotions in stadiums and involvement in community events benefiting MADD.

The league and MADD's incoming chief executive said there's no mixed message.

"We all agree safe and responsible use of the product is fine," said Adolpho Birch, the NFL vice president who handled the Anheuser-Busch deal.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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