Tag:NFL competition committee
Posted on: January 22, 2012 10:07 pm
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NFL postseason overtime rules explained

We have OT for the second time this postseason (AP)
By Ryan Wilson

The NFL changed the posteason overtime rules prior to the 2010 season but the league didn't have its first overtime playoff game until two weeks ago when the Broncos beat the Steelers on the first play from scrimmage in extra time.

Prior to the rules change, overtime was simply sudden death: first team to score wins. This still holds for all regular-season games, but "modified sudden death" is now the postseason format.

The particulars, via the NFL.

* At the end of regulation time, the referee will immediately toss a coin at the center of the field in accordance with rules pertaining to the usual pregame toss. The captain of the visiting team will call the toss prior to the coin being flipped.

* Following a three-minute intermission after the end of the regulation game, play will be continued in 15-minute periods until a winner is declared. Each team must possess or have the opportunity to possess the ball unless the team that has the ball first scores a touchdown on its initial possession.

Play continues in sudden death until a winner is determined, and the game automatically ends upon any score (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) or when a score is awarded by the referee for a palpably unfair act. Each team has three time-outs per half and all general timing provisions apply as during a regular game. The try is not attempted if a touchdown is scored. Disqualified players are not allowed to return.

* Instant Replay: No challenges. Reviews to be initiated by the replay assistant.

The rules change came about after statistics examined by the competition committee showed that, going back to 1994, teams that win the coin toss also win in overtime 60 percent of the time. Even more compelling: the same data showed that since 1994, the team that won the overtime coin toss won the game 34 percent of the time on the first possession.

"We've had this discussion for a number of years," competition committee co-chairman Rich McKay said back in March 2010. "We feel this year's proposal gave us the opportunity to [install] a pretty good rule. Statistically, we felt it needed to be changed. It wasn't creating the fairest result as far as field goal accuracy, field goal distance and drive starts."

"Plenty of people on the committee, myself included, are so-called traditionalists," former Colts president Bill Polian said. "I am proud to be one. But once you saw the statistics, it became obvious we had to do something."

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 8:38 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 9:46 pm
 

New rule could make for longer games in 2011

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Every offseason, the NFL's competition committee convenes to discuss which rules to add, modify or scrap altogether. Mike Pereira, the former NFL Vice President of Officiating who now works for Fox Sports, writes Monday that in anticipation of the 2011 season, 121 NFL officials just completed a three-day clinic in Dallas where, among other things, they were apprised of the rules changes.

Some new rules were met with outspoken criticism (unsurprisingly, James Harrison took the lead on that), although the most controversial decision had to be the one that resulted in no change at all.

Last season, Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson had a touchdown overturned against division rival Chicago after it was determined that he hadn't met all the criteria for what the NFL considered a legal catch. Crazy us, we just thought it involved, you know, catching the ball in the end zone.

If you can stand it, here's the play in question: 



No matter how many times we watch that replay, we always expect it to be ruled a touchdown since it looks ... just like a touchdown.

Pereira explains why, in fact, the pass thrown to Johnson is still considered incomplete.

"There were no substantial changes to the catch rule. There are three elements to a catch when going to the ground. First, you must get total control. Second, you must get both feet or another body part down. Third, and the trickiest, you must maintain control throughout the entire process of going to and hitting the ground. The ground can cause an incompletion in the field of play or end zone. The competition committee affirmed that the pass to Johnson was incomplete as the ball came out of his control when it hit the ground. He completed the first two elements of the catch but not the third."

This will placate almost certainly no one, but to quote every coach or athlete to ever talk to the media, "It is what it is." Moving on...

A rules change everyone can get behind: every scoring play will automatically be reviewed. The goal is to reduce missed calls and save coaches from wasting challenges, but Pereira notes that there will be unintended consequences, too. "There will be a lot more replay stoppages in 2011, and the length of games will increase. Neither of those is good for the game."

On this last point we can all agree. Presumably, even James Harrison.

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