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Detroit Lions Would Not Have Made Playoffs Under New Proposed OT Rule

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
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An item on the agenda at the next NFL Owner’s meeting is sparking some debate among football fans. The proposal would change overtime periods from 15 minutes to 10 minutes long starting next season.

On the surface it seems ridiculous because no one likes ties in football, and shortening the amount of time you have to break that tie would only lead to more ties, and thus more unhappy fans. Not to mention the weird record lines and one team getting in over another in playoff races by a “half-game”. It just doesn’t feel right.

If this rule was adopted for the 2016 season for example, on top of the two ties that season already had there would’ve been two more games ended in a tie due to the final score occurring in the last five minutes of overtime (Oakland v Tampa Bay, week 8 and Miami v Buffalo, week 16).

Additionally, two game results would be reversed thanks to the field goal alternating possession rule in overtime and the eventual winners scoring the tying and/or deciding scores in the last five minutes. (Denver would have beaten Kansas City in week 12 and Cleveland would have beat Pittsburgh in week 17).

If those results had happened under the 10 minute overtime rule, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have gotten into the NFL Playoffs over the Detroit Lions in the NFC and in the AFC, Denver would have gotten in over Miami. There was also some seeding that got shuffled in this alternate reality.

Putting aside the “what could have been” questions though, this rule seems like a bad idea due to the very likely increase in ties that the NFL will see. Last year 13 of 256 regular season games went to overtime (~5%). Of those 13 games, six were decided in the last five minutes of overtime, either by tie or a team winning.

I guess the question you have to ask is, what does the NFL serve to gain by setting a new rule that impacts less than 3% of their games and increase the likelihood of ties? I don’t see anything, and yet the NFL is expected to adopt this rule according to NFL insiders across various media outlets.

I’ll just wait until the fan backlash hits the first time who knees the ball in overtime because a tie is “good enough” for them in whatever situation might present itself. Then we’ll see if this 10-minute overtime period is such a good idea.

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