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New Rules For The NFL Playoffs

As if the ghost of “Black Monday” was not haunting enough, along with the pressures of the post-season, NFL’s officiating department has added other changes to the confusing and controversial rules for playing with the pigskin in the post season. When the playoffs begin this weekend, they will feature a new rule for overtime. That field goal to win the game on the opening series of the extra session? Forget it.

If a team wins the coin toss and receives the overtime kickoff, it does not automatically win the game if it kicks a field goal. The team that kicked off then gets a possession. If the trailing team also kicks a field goal, the game continues. If it scores a touchdown, it wins. And if it does not get any points, it loses.

“It’s another component of a football game,” said Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, whose Packers are at Philadelphia on Sunday. “I clearly understand why the rule was changed, the fairness to give both teams the opportunity to have the ball. I don’t think it’s a huge deal.” The tweak was made last March, two months after Garrett Hartley’s field goal won the NFL championship game for New Orleans over Minnesota on the opening series of OT. While that kick prompted an early Mardi Gras for Saints fans, it gave impetus to suggestions there might be a fairer way to determine outcomes in overtime.

Team owners passed the change only for the playoffs, but reserved the right to add it to the regular season if it works well.
“I was one of those guys that was hoping that this would be a yearlong thing,” said Kansas City coach Todd Haley as his Chiefs prepared for Sunday’s game with Baltimore. “It is different and there are multiple variables that could come into play.”
Such as whether the winner of the coin toss actually would choose to go on defense first, something unheard of for OTs under the previous rules.

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