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Owners will vote on doing away with preseason overtime

Donovan McNabb

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2011, file photo, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb reacts on the sideline after being sacked for a safety during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago. McNabb was not at practice for the Vikings during the portion that is open to the media on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, amid reports that the veteran quarterback has been waived. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)


Of all the proposed rules changes the NFL owners will debate and vote on at next week’s league meeting, the one that seems the most obvious is the proposal to eliminate overtime in the preseason.

That proposal, brought forward by Washington, is simple: If it’s still tied at the end of the fourth quarter of a preseason game, then the game ends in a tie. No reason for overtime.

Look, everyone knows the preseason stinks. No one really cares who wins or loses, and by the fourth quarter it’s mostly a bunch of scrubs who aren’t even going to make the 53-man roster on the field. Getting rid of overtime in the preseason is one small step toward acknowledging that those exhibition games don’t matter anyway.

If the NFL were ever to change the overtime rules radically by, for instance, switching to the college format of alternating possessions from the 25-yard line, it might make sense to try it in the preseason first to give players, coaches and officials an opportunity to see how it works. But barring that, there’s no reason ever to see overtime in the preseason again.