NFL 2017: Overtime Excitement
NFL 2017: Overtime Excitement

In 2016, nearly 72 percent of all regular-season games (184 of 256) were within one score in the fourth quarter. The 184 such games are the most of any season in NFL history. With so many close games, it’s no surprise that 13 contests in the regular season were ultimately decided in overtime.

The overtime action started early as the Chiefs overcame a 21-point second-half defi cit to defeat the Chargers 33-27 in overtime on Kickoff Weekend and extended all the way to Super Bowl LI, as running back James White’s 2-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of overtime capped New England’s 34-28 OT victory over Atlanta in the fi rst Super Bowl to go to overtime.

The NFL teams with the best regular-season overtime records since overtime was instituted in 1974:

    Washington 25-15-2 .619

    Denver 28-18-2 .604

    Arizona 24-16-3 .593

    Pittsburgh 22-16-2 .575

    Buffalo 20-15 .571

 

Modified Sudden Death Overtime

For the 2010 postseason, the NFL installed a modified sudden death overtime system to determine the winner when the score is tied at the end of regulation. In 2012, the system was expanded to cover all NFL games.

In 2017, NFL owners approved the shortening of all overtime periods in the preseason and regular season from 15 minutes to 10 minutes in an effort to improve player safety. Seven of the 13 regular-season overtime contests in 2016 ended in fewer than 10 minutes.

Teams have the opportunity to possess the ball at least once in the extra period unless the team that receives the overtime kickoff scores a touchdown on its first possession.

A look at the NFL’s overtime procedures:

 

Regular Season Overtime Procedures

At the end of regulation time, the referee will immediately toss a coin at the center of the field in accordance with rules pertaining to the usual pregame toss. The captain of the visiting team will call the toss prior to the coin being fl ipped.

Following a three-minute intermission after the end of the regulation game, there shall be a maximum of one 10-minute period. Each team must possess or have the opportunity to possess the ball unless the team that has the ball fi rst scores a touchdown on its initial possession.

Play continues in sudden death until a winner is determined, and the game automatically ends upon any score (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) or when a score is awarded by the referee for a palpably unfair act. Each team shall be entitled to two timeouts, and if there is an excess timeout, the usual rules shall apply. The try is not attempted if a touchdown is scored. Disqualified players are not allowed to return.

If the score is tied at the end of the 10-minute overtime period, the game shall result in a tie.

Instant Replay: No challenges. Reviews to be initiated by the replay official.

 

Postseason Overtime Procedures

At the end of regulation time, the referee will immediately toss a coin at the center of the field in accordance with rules pertaining to the usual pregame toss. The captain of the visiting team will call the toss prior to the coin being flipped.

Following a three-minute intermission after the end of the regulation game, play will be continued in 15-minute periods until a winner is declared. Each team must possess or have the opportunity to possess the ball unless the team that has the ball first scores a touchdown on its initial possession.

Play continues in sudden death until a winner is determined, and the game automatically ends upon any score (by safety, fi eld goal, or touchdown) or when a score is awarded by the referee for a palpably unfair act. Each team has three time outs per half and all general timing provisions apply as during a regular game. The try is not attempted if a touchdown is scored. Disqualifi ed players are not allowed to return.

Instant Replay: No challenges. Reviews to be initiated by the replay official.

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