Tagliabue discusses new OT system in state of NFL addressPosted: Friday January 24, 2003 7:55 PM
Updated: Saturday January 25, 2003 2:02 AM
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Get ready for overtime to be overhauled.
Three of the NFL's most powerful executives say changes could come as early as next season.
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue predicted Friday that team owners would scrap the sudden-death format in March at their annual meetings. He expects a new overtime setup with each team getting at least one possession, and he has the support of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney and players' union executive director Gene Upshaw.
"We are reassessing it with members of the competition committee and our staff," Tagliabue said during his annual state of the NFL address.
There were a record 25 overtime games during the regular season, with 10 (40 percent) decided on the first possession. The only OT game during the playoffs, with Tennessee beating Rooney's Steelers, also was decided on the first possession.
Since the league adopted overtime in 1974, 97 of 342 games that went to extra time (28.3 percent) ended on the first possession.
Tagliabue noted the trend has grown stronger in the last nine seasons, since kickoffs were moved back to the 30-yard line.
"When the membership looks at that trend," Tagliabue said, "that advantage of receiving first is becoming unbalanced. How we fine-tune the rule, I don't know."
Rooney was a proponent of the current system. No longer.
"I feel it's time to look at it," he said. "It should be some system where the other team gets a chance to have the ball. We -- the Steelers, I mean -- have talked about it. If a team receives and scores, the other team gets the ball and has to outscore them."
Upshaw said overtime must become more equitable.
"If you look at the games this year, you see how much closer they're getting," Upshaw said Thursday at the players' union meeting. "It only stands to reason that if you get into overtime, you should have a fair chance to win."
In college football, the NCAA adopted a new overtime system in 1996, in which each team gets the ball from the 25-yard line and keeps possession until it scores, loses the ball or gives it up on downs. That way, both teams get a chance to score.
Overtime was used to determine the national championship in this month's Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State beat Miami 31-24 in double OT.
On other issues:
The commissioner took the unusual step of publicly criticizing game officials after they missed a 49ers penalty on the final play, a botched field-goal attempt by the Giants. On Friday, he explained those earlier comments.
"We've taken pains to have the mechanics in place," Tagliabue said. "They're designed to prevent that kind of oversight from occurring. To me, that was the most disappointing aspect in the officiating in my 13 years as commissioner."
He also said such a stadium would make Los Angeles a prime candidate to host a Super Bowl.
"You have to go to the game like it is the Winter Olympics," he said, "and it becomes a modern-day version of the Ice Bowl. That's the mindset you need. We think it can work."
"Bill Parcells is a world-class coach," Tagliabue noted. "How you can criticize that in terms of fair employment policies, I don't get it.
"The Jaguars have a terrific record in this area, and yesterday they hired James Harris" as vice president of player personnel.