ORLANDO, Fla. -- So what happened in the posh halls of the Ritz-Carlton on Tuesday to cause a lot of so-called traditionalist owners to overwhelmingly vote in support of a change to the NFL's long-held overtime rule? Well, a couple members of the competition committee chalked it up to presenting a clearer message this time around.
And it probably helped that coaches weren't given an opportunity to vote on the proposal. Something tells me the league wouldn't have found 24 votes from the coaches, who will now have to take a different approach to overtime. (Can't wait to hear Tom Coughlin's thoughts tomorrow morning). But the owners' vote was 28-4, with only the Bills, Vikings, Ravens and Bengals dissenting.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder was convinced the vote would pass earlier Tuesday afternoon and Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones openly rooted for the change. At one point Tuesday, there was so much support for the overtime modification that you thought the owners might extend it to the regular-season. But in order to make sure the vote passed, the competition committee chose to simply focus on the playoffs.
Committee co-chairman Rich McKay said he didn't "envision" the owners applying the new rule to the regular-season before 2010, but he indicated there could be further discussion at the next owners meetings in May. McKay also said the NFC title game in which the Saints won the overtime coin toss and quickly scored against the Vikings did not influence the vote.
I'm not buying that line. The biggest thing the committee stressed to the owners is that the sudden-death aspect of the rule wouldn't change. If the team that receives the ball first goes down and scores a touchdown, the game ends immediately.
In the whole scheme of things, this isn't that big of a deal. It's not like we've had a rash of overtime playoff games in recent years. Basically this is a prelude to a change that will eventually be made to the regular-season. I'm not sure why Vikings owner Zygi Wilf was so frustrated with the vote. Obviously, this rule would've benefited his team in the NFC title game.
Just to be clear, the overtime modification is a permanent change. Unlike the original replay rules, this won't be revisited on an annual basis. It's certainly not the perfect solution, but it's better than the previous situation. The kickers have become so accurate that the team that wins the coin toss had an unfair advantage.
In the end, even the traditionalists could not ignore the mounting evidence. I'm hearing some writers complain that this might hamper their deadline writing. Something tells me that wasn't considered in the final vote.