UnNews:NFL approves new overtime rule

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27 March 2010

Football

These Denver Broncos were baffled during the regular season without the new rule, and there is no chance they can sort things out now.

ORLANDO, Florida -- Team owners in the National Football League have approved, by a vote of 28 to 4, a new rule governing tie football games.

If the game is tied, and if it is the post-season, and if the team winning the coin toss wins the game, and if they did it by scoring a field goal, then the other team will get the ball to try to score more than a field goal.

The decision was made at football's Winter meetings here. Contentious debate had to come to an end because it was nearly Spring. Owners chose a morning in which virtually all their head coaches were on the golf links, and cobbled together this bastard of a rule.

The problem is that first possession of the football during overtime is determined by a coin flip. The winner of the coin toss goes on to win the game 60% of the time--and win the game without the other team ever having the ball about one-third of the time. League Commissioner Roger Goodell supported the rules change. "The only other promising proposal involved a coin that wouldn't flip 50-50, but our network people couldn't produce a prototype." Mr. Goodell said the league had had discussions with the NBA, which tries something similar with a gadget involving one thousand ping pong balls.

The rule change settles a controversy that arose after the Minnesota Vikings lost the ball in overtime to the New Orleans Saints and then lost the game when the Saints kicked a field goal regarded as "cheap." The new rule provides that teams that have 60 minutes of regulation time and can't get it done are then treated more fairly and considerately.

The Vikings themselves, however, were one of the four teams opposing the rules change. Owner Zygi Wilf said, "We are holding out for a rule that provides that the ball is given to the team that loses the coin toss."

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