NFL teams submit two separate proposals to adjust overtime

NFL teams have submitted two separate proposals to adjust overtime, the league announced Wednesday, following months of discussion about the advantage of winning the opening possession.

The proposals have not yet been endorsed by the NFL's powerful competition committee, but by rule they can be put to a vote later this month during the annual league meetings.

The Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles have proposed that both teams be allowed at least one possession in overtime. The Tennessee Titans' proposal calls for both teams to get at least one possession unless the team that opens overtime with the ball scores a touchdown and then converts a two-point attempt.

Rule changes need approval from 24 of 32 teams to be enacted.

The league's existing overtime rule, last updated in 2017, calls for both teams to get at least one possession unless the team that opens overtime with the ball scores a touchdown. It has come under scrutiny because of the advantage it gives teams that win the overtime coin toss, especially in the playoffs, and the issue returned to the public sphere when the Kansas City Chiefs eliminated the Buffalo Bills from the divisional playoff round last season by scoring a touchdown on the opening possession of overtime.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane said at the scouting combine this month that he favored playing out the entire overtime period, regardless of scoring, similar to basketball and other sports that eschew "sudden death." But no such proposal was included in the packet the NFL made public Wednesday. There was also no indication that the Baltimore Ravens, who have made several overtime proposals in recent years, including an analytics-based "spot and choose" method, have made any submissions for 2022.

The competition committee will decide next week whether to make any suggestions of its own, endorse a club proposal or recommend no changes.

It's possible that the competition committee and/or owners will compromise on a change for postseason games only. Since the current requirement for an opening-possession touchdown was instituted for the regular season in 2012, teams winning the coin toss have won 50% of the time, according to league data. That number has ticked up a bit to 54% since the league shorted overtime from a maximum of 15 to 10 minutes in 2017.

But there has been a big jump for playoff games. Since the current format was implemented, seven of 12 postseason overtime games have been won on the opening possession, and 10 of those 12 were won by the team that won the coin toss.

Meanwhile, four teams submitted a resolution to adjust the league's anti-tampering policy in a way that would allow teams to retain their player personnel staff through the draft. After that point, teams would be required to allow non-executives to interview with other teams.

The change would allow teams to maintain continuity in their draft preparations rather than lose staff members during a key part of the offseason between the end of the season and the draft, in exchange for dropping the ability to block movement afterward.