The Browns won't need to worry about the NFL's new overtime rules unless they make the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season.
On Tuesday, team owners decided not to expand the league's revamped postseason overtime rules to the regular season (oh yeah, the owners also discussed replacing the current 16-game regular-season schedule with an 18-game format).
Yes, overtime rules will be different for the regular season and the playoffs. Confusing? I hope this helps:
- During the regular season, the first team to score in overtime will still win in true sudden-death fashion.
- In the playoffs, however, a team that loses the coin flip and allows a field goal during its opponent's first possession will not automatically lose. Instead, it will receive a chance to tie or win with a possession of its own.
- It's also important to remember a team that loses the coin flip and allows a touchdown during its opponent's first possession will automatically lose in the playoffs. In other words, a field goal during an opening drive doesn't end the game, but a touchdown during an opening drive does.
- And one more point about the postseason: After both teams have a possession, any score can win the game.
My two cents: I actually like the new OT rules for the playoffs because a team can't gain a drastic advantage via a coin flip, and I wish the NFL would have transferred the new OT guidelines to the regular season, too. I realize the possibility of playing longer regular-season games might be a concern in terms of increasing the risk of injuries, but consistency reigns supreme. What if a team falls victim to a coin flip in a crucial regular-season game and misses the playoffs as a result? Well, we'll simply have the same problem again.
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