x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Only a matter of overtime before confusion rules

Most fans, unaware of the midstream switch because they have yet to experience it, will be confused if/when a field goal in the extra period does not end the game.

So the NFL wants to revamp its widely cussed overtime format. Fine.

But team owners fumbled when they voted to apply the unfamiliar system exclusively to the play-offs. Most fans, unaware of the midstream switch because they have yet to experience it, will be confused if/when a field goal in the extra period does not end the game.

The Saints' game-closing three-pointer in last year's NFC Championship on the opening series was the piping point for owners to adjust the rules. Now, the team receiving the kick-off must score a touchdown to deny the opposition a turn. In the event of a field goal, the game continues.

Two quadruple-header post-season weekends have come and gone, mercifully, without overtime. With 7.4 percent (19 of 256) of regular season games extended, the chance of bonus play is slim. If the suits wish to replace the old arrangement, they should do so around-the-calendar and not wait until January.

Coaches accustomed to one approach should not be forced to recalibrate their play-calling at this stage. Example: The receiving team might be less inclined to attempt a lengthy field goal, opting instead to punt because three points would not win the game.

Jets coach Rex Ryan even suggested he might choose to kick off after winning the coin flip, though he later reconsidered.

Rest assured, fans will not be the only parties thrown off by a field goal on the first series of overtime At least one player will rush onto the field, ready to celebrate.