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Competition Committee ponders possible postseason overtime change

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Mike Florio explains the process the NFL will take in reconsidering overtime rules this offseason.

Two Sundays ago, during the Super Bowl pregame show, we pointed out that the owners may adopt this year a simple and straightforward solution to the inherently unfair postseason overtime procedures -- each team would be guaranteed one possession.

This Sunday, via Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the Competition Committee is meeting in Indianapolis amid “at least some sentiment” within the committee to recommended the one-possession-each approach. Ultimately, however, the wishes of the committee don’t matter; the current rules will change only if at least 24 teams are willing to do so.

Moreover, individual teams can propose changes, even if the committee doesn’t. Rich McKay, chair of the Competition Committee, said Sunday that he has “no question that there will be a team or two that is going to suggest a rule change,” via Maske.

As noted in the days after the Super Bowl, if the NFL doesn’t make the change after the thoroughly unsatisfying ending to the Bills-Chiefs playoff game, the NFL likely never will. And the only solution that the powers-that-be regard as sensible entail a postseason-only alteration that gives the team that kicked off to start overtime a chance to match or beat an opening-drive touchdown.

In considering the various arguments in favor of promoting each team a possession in the playoffs, it’s important to note the arguments against making a change. Or lack thereof. The cries of jUSt pLaY DeFEnSe don’t fit with today’s game, where the rules are slanted toward gaining yards and scoring points. No one in their right mind would choose to kick to start overtime, which confirms the clear advantage of taking the ball and vowing to score.

Moreover, the fact that the Bengals defeated the Chiefs after kicking off to start overtime of the AFC Championship doesn’t prove the point. Overcoming an inherently unfair system doesn’t make the system any more fair. It just makes the outcome more impressive.

Given that the NFL has no appetite for gimmicks like spot-and-choose (proposed last year by the Ravens) or a two-point conversion shootout (my own personal favorite, for years), the best move would be taking the half-measure from 2010 and going the rest of the way.

As a compromise when it comes to length of game/amount of snaps, maybe the NFL should go back to sudden-death overtime for regular-season football. That was initially the case after the postseason-only change following the Vikings-Saints NFC Championship in 2009, but too many coaches felt compelled to have the same rules in the regular season and in the postseason. Even though the rules necessarily are different, because regular-season games can end in a tie.