During my weekly appearance on Wes McElroy’s morning sports talk show on Richmond’s Fox Sports radio station, he asked me what I thought about the NFL’s overtime rule.

Next week, the league owners are expected to approve the shortening of overtime from 15 to 10 minutes.

Asked what I thought — if I’d rather see it stay at 15 minutes or changed to 10 or, like New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees suggested, make NFL overtime mimic that of college football’s — I went a different route.

Instead of going to college overtime rules, let’s take it back to high school.

The old Kansas tiebreaker.

You know what I’m talking about. First-and-goal from the 10-yard line. Each team gets a possession, and if it remains tied, switch ends, flip possessions and do it again until we have a winner.

Four to score. Simple. And entertaining.

Not only that, but it gets to the heart of the game: 10 yards to glory. Big on big. Best vs. best. Who wants it more?

The NFL overtime rule gives each team the opportunity to possess the ball at least one time, unless the team that receives the opening overtime kickoff scores a touchdown on its first possession.

Boring. ... At least compared to the action the high school overtime can give you.

And shortening the NFL overtime period under its current structure would just result in more ties, which is a big concern.

Ties are for futbol. Not football.

We want a winner. And we also want teams to leave it all on the field.

Currently, if the team with the first possession in overtime scores a TD on that possession, it’s over. Now, those are the rules, and I’m all about playing by the rules, but where’s the nail-biting, can’t-look-away drama in that?

If the NFL goes back to the sudden-death format — first team to score, wins — that’s one thing. But to shorten overtime by five minutes and keep the same format, well, it just seems like a big, fat sad trombone (whomp, whomp, whomp).

Even adopting the college tiebreaker would be better: each team gets a first-and-10 possession on the other team’s 25-yard line.

That’s dramatic. And it has a nice little twist where if it’s still tied after the first two overtimes, then each team must go for a 2-point conversion after a touchdown, instead of kicking an extra point.


But not as spicy or dramatic as four-to-score.

Could you imagine the drama, the pressure … the ratings?

What other rules in sports would I change if I could, you ask?

Well ...

  • We all know how I feel about extra innings in minor league baseball games: There shouldn’t be any.
  • What about “taking a dive” in sports? If a player is deserving of an Academy Award for flailing around after not even being touched by a member of the opposite team, his/her squad should not only be penalized, but the Oscar-worthy performer should be fined and made to sit out for a period of time during that game.
  • Speaking of being penalized, would someone please clearly define what constitutes as “roughing the passer” in football and make sure all officials enforce it properly and consistently? If breathing on or looking at a quarterback the wrong way is a 15-yard penalty, I’m not sure I want to be a fan anymore.

Enter your email address and submit to receive RTD Sports emails each weekday morning

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

(804) 649-6456


Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.