With the NFL’s owners meetings being held in Dallas, the Packers are taking a one-week hiatus from their organized team activities.
One measure that apparently won’t be voted upon this week would be extending the modified overtime rules to the regular season. According to NFL.com, there “doesn’t seem to be enough interest” from the owners to tackle the issue.
That’s just as well.
The overtime changes certainly make sense for the postseason.
Starting with the playoffs following the 2010 season, if a team wins the coin toss and drives to a field goal, the other team gets a chance with the ball. If that team also drives to a field goal, then the game shifts into sudden-death mode. The only way an overtime playoff game can end on the first possession is with a touchdown or the defense scoring a safety.
That change was adopted by a 28-4 vote in March.
According to the NFL’s data, the team that won the overtime coin flip in the regular season went on to win 59.8 percent of the time since 1994 — when kickoffs were moved from the 35-yard line to the 30. However, only 34.4 percent of teams that won the overtime coin flip won the game on their first possession.
In other words, both teams got at least one possession in almost two-thirds of overtime games. That’s an acceptable figure for the regular season, with teams concerned about the added snaps meaning increased injury risk.
Including playoffs, the Packers have played in 32 overtime games since the extra period was instituted in 1974. They are 11-13-4 in the regular season and 2-2 in the playoffs.
Since kickoffs were moved to the 30, the Packers are 2-4 in regular-season overtime games decided by a field goal by the team that won the coin toss. That includes three games in the last four years.
Against Detroit in 2005, Brett Favre led a 10-play drive that set up a short Ryan Longwell field goal. In 2008, the Packers played two overtime games and lost both — with the Titans and Bears winning the toss and promptly driving to the winning field goals.
In all, the Packers are 4-4 in regular-season overtime games decided by a field goal by the team that won the coin toss.
None of the Packers’ four overtime playoff games would have been impacted by the new rules.
The Packers won the toss but Favre threw an interception in overtime against the Giants in the 2007 NFC championship game. They played back-to-back overtime games following the 2003 season. Against Seattle, the Seahawks famously won the coin flip but Matt Hasselbeck threw a pick-six to Al Harris. The next week at Philadelphia, the Eagles won the toss but went three-and-out. Favre then threw an interception and the Eagles kicked a winning field goal. In the famous 1965 playoff game against Baltimore at Green Bay, the Packers punted twice and the Colts punted and missed a field goal before Don Chandler’s controversial field goal propelled the Packers.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.
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