NFL OT format now uniform

11:48 AM, Mar 28, 2012   |    comments
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Palm Beach, FL (Sports Network) - The NFL owners approved two key rule changes on Wednesday, including a change to the regular-season overtime procedure and putting all turnovers to review.

The new regular-season overtime rules will now match the playoff format.

Unlike the prior sudden-death overtime principles where the first team to score won, each team will now have an opportunity for a possession in the extra session unless the team that receives the first kickoff scores a touchdown or the defense forces a safety.

All turnovers will be subject to instant replay without the coaching challenge needed. The change comes a year after the NFL began reviewing all scoring plays.

Rich McKay, the chairman of the competition committee, stated that the average time of an NFL game can "potentially" decrease.

"We have a lot of plays that are turnovers, we go to a commercial break and the coach challenges coming out of the commercial break, which now really slows down the game," McKay said. "You will have none of that in this instance because the confirmation will occur before that. We like the way the procedure worked on scoring plays, and we felt like this was a change we could make without adding game time."

Two proposals weren't passed.

The first, submitted by Buffalo, was to have all instant replays reviewed by the booth rather than by referees on the field.

The second was to outlaw horse-collar tackles on a quarterback in the pocket, but McKay didn't think the proposal had an "impact on players safety."

"The defender in the pocket is fighting off an offensive player, grabbing and just trying to do everything he can. We just didn't see the injury risk and that is why we didn't support it," McKay said.

Other rules changes include: a team will lose a down for illegally kicking a loose ball; too many men on the field becomes a dead ball foul; and a player receiving a crackback block is now considered a defenseless player and will result in a 15-yard penalty.

In addition, owners tabled to May a proposal on moving back the trade deadline, changing the bylaws of the IR rule and a roster-size ruling.

The Sports Network

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