The NFL competition committee will put forth a proposal to shorten overtime from 15 minutes to 10 in all preseason and regular season games, according to Judy Battista for NFL.com.
Under the new proposal, playoff games would continue to use a 15-minute overtime period.
The thought process behind the potential change is that a lengthy overtime potentially puts teams at a disadvantage the following week, particularly if there’s a short turnaround between games, writes Battista. Player safety could be a motivating factor as well.
Of course, there’s at least one fairly obvious flaw that could stem from a change. With five fewer minutes in overtime, the chances of an NFL game ending in a tie increases significantly. While ties are uncommon, two contests ended in that exact fashion under the current rules in 2016.
It’s unclear whether that is viewed as a good or bad thing. While nobody likes the idea of a tie, it could lead to more dramatic finishes in overtime.
While anything that might benefit a player’s safety is worth considering, one has to wonder how much of a difference knocking five minutes off the clock really makes. If the concern is that a team playing late on Sunday will be disadvantaged on Thursday, maybe the league shouldn’t schedule as many Thursday games.
At this point, it’s only a proposal, and coming from so far out of left field, it would be surprising to see it passed in time for 2017. Still, it suggests the NFL and competition committee may not be finished tinkering with overtime, scheduling procedures, or both.
As for reducing overtime in the preseason, here’s an even better proposal: eliminate overtime in the preseason altogether.