OT in the NFL

Its an NFL game, the end of regulation time and you are headed into OT.

So how much does winning the coin toss affect your chances of winning the game?

Well that depends on whether this is the regular season or the playoffs.  Since 1974 when the league adopted OT rules for regular season games, whichever team has won the toss has won just over 50% of regular season games. However over the last several years, that winning percentage is closer to 65%.

The situation is different in the playoffs, however. If you win the coin toss, it is Goodnight Gracie – your team has won the game 10 out of the last 11 times. Seven of those wins were on the opening drive – so the opposition offense never set foot on the field.

The league tweaked the rules in 2010. This change meant that if a team wins the toss and scores only a field goal on their first drive, the opposing team gets a chance to score. However if a team wins the toss and scores a touchdown, game over.

Not that it is solace to Bill’s fans, but Mahomes knows what it is like to lose in OT without ever taking a snap from center – happened to him in the 2019 AFC championship game.

Time for sometime more sensible? Here is one proposal: Team 1 proposes the initial ball placement, and Team 2 decided whether to play offense or defense from that spot. So, for example, instead of getting the ball on the 25 after a touchback, maybe Team 1 says ‘Ball at the 10 yard line’. Not such an advantage getting the ball first.
A second proposal – do something more like OT in basketball: play a full 15 (or 10?) minute period.

What say you?

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