The NFL’s competition committee is considering a proposal to trim overtime sessions to 10 minutes during the preseason and regular season, according to a person familiar with the league’s inner workings.
Overtime currently lasts 15 minutes.
The reduction would save wear and tear on players. The potential downside is the possibility that it could increase the number of ties during the regular season. There were two ties this past season, one between the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals in London and the other between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals.
Overtime rules presumably would remain unchanged. A team can win with a touchdown on the opening possession of overtime. If the team with the opening possession gets a field goal, the opposing team is given a possession to attempt to tie the game with a field goal or win it with a touchdown. If that team scores a tying field goal, the game continues in sudden-death mode.
The proposal would have to be approved by at least 24 of 32 teams. Owners meet next week at a Phoenix-area resort for the annual league meeting and a vote could take place then. It is unclear if the proposal would generate sufficient support to be ratified.
There apparently is some sentiment that an increase in the number of ties during the regular season would not be entirely bad, given that it would help to sort out playoff tiebreakers at the end of the regular season.
The committee seems particularly concerned about a team having to play a 15-minute overtime and then return on a short week to play another game.
Postseason games, of course, would continue to be played until there is a winner.