Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Vikings among four holdouts on OT
By Kevin Seifert ESPN.com
ORLANDO, Fla. -- There are two interesting and significant NFC North angles on the NFL's new overtime rule, which requires a team to score touchdown in order to win on the first possession.
1. Minnesota owner Zygi Wilf, who spoke out Monday against the proposal and suggested an alternative of his own, did not change his mind. The Vikings were among four teams to vote against the proposal. The other three NFC North teams voted in favor of the change.
Garrett Hartley's field goal propelled the Saints to the Super Bowl. Under the new rule, the field goal wouldn't have ended the game.
The position carried some irony, considering the Vikings' NFC Championship Game loss would have been impacted by the new rule. Had it been enacted for that game, the Vikings would have received a possession after New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley's 40-yard field goal.
But Wilf wanted owners to abolish the overtime kickoff altogether and give the winner of the coin toss possession at its own 20-yard line. Atlanta president Rich McKay, co-chairman of the NFL's competition committee, said that preserving the kickoff ensured no phase of the game -- offense, defense or special teams -- would be altered in a fundamental way.
Wilf was briskly leaving the afternoon vote when I caught up to him. "I have no comment," he said.
2. A few weeks ago, Mark of Denver asked what would happen under the new rule if a team opens overtime with an onside kick, recovers it and then kicks a field goal on the ensuing possession. I deferred a final answer until we got the exact wording of the rule.
According to the language we received Tuesday, the game would be over in that scenario. The rule calls for both teams to "have the opportunity to possess the ball once during the extra period, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession."
I sought clarification from McKay after Tuesday's news conference, and he confirmed it: Winning the coin toss and choosing to receive the ball offers a team "the opportunity to possess." In other words, it's enough to satisfy the requirements of the new rule.