NFL considers overtime changes for playoffs

INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL is considering a proposal to change the rules for overtime games in the playoffs.

It's a change that could have impacted who won the Super Bowl this year.

A group of veteran players met with the league's Competition Committee on Thursday to go over rule and safety issues. The proposed change was discussed at the meeting with players who seemed open to the idea.

"It's just something the league is looking at to make sure the playoffs go as good as possible," said Seattle wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh(notes), who was at the meeting. "I don't think it's going to get passed, but they're thinking about it."

The change would be subtle and wouldn't necessarily require that both teams get possession. Any touchdown would still result in a sudden-death result.

However, if the team that got the first possession of overtime scored only a field goal, the other team would get a possession. If the second team scored a touchdown, it would win. If it scored a field goal, the game would continue, whereupon it would revert to simple sudden death.

Also, if the first team to get the ball didn't score but the second team did, the game would be over immediately.

Again, this would only apply to the playoffs, but two of the 11 playoff games went to overtime this season. The first one between the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers wouldn't have been impacted because it ended with a touchdown being scored.

However, the NFC Championship Game would have gone longer under this proposed rule because New Orleans scored a field goal to end the game on the first possession of overtime. The Saints drove 39 yards on 10 plays to set up a 40-yarder by Garrett Hartley(notes) that sent New Orleans to the Super Bowl, where it won the team's first championship.