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Overtime rules still need to change

Drew Brees and the Saints saw their season end again in overtime in the Superdome as Kirk Cousins and the Vikings pulled off a shocking upset on Wild Card Weekend.

After the Chiefs lost the AFC Championship in overtime, the Chiefs proposed a rule that would allow the team that kicks off to start the extra session a chance to match a first-possession touchdown. It wasn’t passed. It still needs to be, as evidenced by Sunday’s first-possession, walk-off touchdown from the Vikings in New Orleans.

The Kansas City proposal had some support, prompting Chiefs owner Clark Hunt to tell PFT Live last March that a revision to overtime for the postseason could be coming. The owners had tabled the subject until May (Cowboys COO Stephen Jones, a member of the Competition Committee, told #PFTPM that he supported it), and then instead of voting on the change the owners delayed consideration for a year.

The decision to table the matter for a year made little sense, but political and P.R. considerations likely influenced an outcome that didn’t entail a failure to make overtime more equitable.

And equity continues to be the primary consideration. As to everyone who shouts “Just play defense!” the reality is that if the team that wins the coin toss scores a touchdown on the opening drive, it never has to play defense in overtime. Both teams should have to play offense and defense if the score is tied at the end of regulation of a postseason game.

On Tuesday, the XFL will be announcing its official first set of rules, and the overtime procedures at last check were expected to be a shootout-style two-point conversion competition lifted (we were happy to help) from one of the ideas proposed by PFT for making the extra session more fair. Here’s hoping the NFL is willing to consider creative alternatives like this, especially if the XFL’s approach is as compelling as it promises to be, with 22 players at each end of the field alternative two-point tries with the game on the line.