"Spot and Choose": New Proposal for Overtime Rules

DonBuddinE6

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The Ravens are proposing an intriguing change to overtime, according to PFT:

"It works like this: One team picks the spot of the ball to start overtime, and the other team chooses whether to play offense or defense.​
"If the one team picks, for example, the offense’s own 20 yard line, the opponent would then choose whether to play offense from their own 20 or to play defense, with the other team having the ball on its own 20. This would minimize greatly the impact of the coin toss; under this proposal, the coin toss would be used only to give the team that wins the toss the right to pick the spot of the ball (along with the end zone to be defended) or to choose offense or defense.​
"Under one of the two proposals to be made by the Ravens, overtime would proceed in sudden-death fashion, with the first score by either team ending the game and up to 10 minutes of extra time. (If the game remains tied at that point, the game’s outcome would be a tie.) Under the other proposal (favored, we’re told, by Patriots coach Bill Belichick), the game would continue for another seven minutes and 30 seconds, without a sudden-death component. Whoever leads after the extra time has ended would be the winner. (Again, if the game remains tied after the extra session, the game’s outcome would be a tie.)"​

At first, and second, glance, I really like this idea.
 

Harry Hooper

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For the second proposal make the overtime mini-game 6 minutes (10% of regulation time), but have the clock stop after every play. I hate watching stalling tactics such as sitting on top of the ballcarrier in a pile to run out the clock.
 
For the second proposal make the overtime mini-game 6 minutes (10% of regulation time), but have the clock stop after every play
According to this article, the ball is actually in play for only 11 minutes in the average NFL game, with the other 49 minutes consisting of a ticking clock - your suggestion would make overtime extend the actual playing length of the average game by more than 50%. So, um, no. ;)
 
As for the actual proposals on the table, the "pick the spot" element makes a lot more sense with the sudden death variation than the seven-and-a-half minutes variation - the latter would work equally well with a normal kickoff, wouldn't it? Personally, I can't really see most coaches wanting to embarrass themselves by being forced to choose a spot on the field to take or give possession; that requires more statistical brainpower than most of these guys show in their lifetimes. So I can't really see this going forward. (But I could in theory envisage a shorter overtime with no sudden death on its own.)
 

Fishercat

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I'm not sure how much this changes the status quo. Like if your team wins the coin toss in regular conditions, the team winning the coin toss pretty much always chooses the right to take offense or defense right? It seems pretty substantially advantageous to make your opponent name a yard line and make your call from there. It might change the amount of time that team chooses to play defense first for more confident head coaches but I still think the situation where a team wins the coin toss and names a yardage point is minimal, and then it's just a game of the other team guessing exactly how deep into your endzone you're willing to go.

The 7:30 iteration of the proposal likely means OT comes down to which team has the better possession QB.

Too cute for my tastes, like Name That Tune for jocks.
 

BaseballJones

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Based on expected points, there's probably a yard line that is the perfect spot that balances things out for both sides. A yard to either side would begin to slide the advantage to the offense, or defense, as the case may be.
 

Leather

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Based on expected points, there's probably a yard line that is the perfect spot that balances things out for both sides. A yard to either side would begin to slide the advantage to the offense, or defense, as the case may be.
I assume this is sudden death?

As interesting as it sounds, coaches are conservative. At the end of the day, the impact of the coinflip will be the same. One team will just put it on the 20/25 yard line and the other team will pick offense. I think all this will remove is the kick itself.
 

moondog80

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I like this idea, don't think it will end up being enacted if only because it opens up a huge area for coaches to be second-guessed. But maybe that's ultimately good for business?
 

Over Guapo Grande

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Based on expected points, there's probably a yard line that is the perfect spot that balances things out for both sides. A yard to either side would begin to slide the advantage to the offense, or defense, as the case may be.
I think I read that it was the 13/14 yard line as the break even point. WIll try to add a reference shortly


This was from the PFT article:

It’s believed that the break-even point would be the 13 yard line. For the 14 or beyond, the team choosing offense or defense will be more likely to take the ball. For the 12 or closer, the team choosing offense or defense will be more likely to opt to defend. Obviously, however, the final decision will hinge on a variety of factors, regarding offensive and defensive personnel, weather conditions, range and accuracy of the kickers on both teams, etc.

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2021/03/04/ravens-to-propose-revolutionary-spot-and-choose-overtime-procedure/
 

JerBear

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I'm not sure how much this changes the status quo. Like if your team wins the coin toss in regular conditions, the team winning the coin toss pretty much always chooses the right to take offense or defense right? It seems pretty substantially advantageous to make your opponent name a yard line and make your call from there. It might change the amount of time that team chooses to play defense first for more confident head coaches but I still think the situation where a team wins the coin toss and names a yardage point is minimal, and then it's just a game of the other team guessing exactly how deep into your endzone you're willing to go.

The 7:30 iteration of the proposal likely means OT comes down to which team has the better possession QB.

Too cute for my tastes, like Name That Tune for jocks.
Pretty sure the option on a won toss would be offense, defense, or yard line. You don't get to wait to choose which of offense or defense. Whoever wins makes a choice of the three, the other team does the unselected choice after that.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Based on expected points, there's probably a yard line that is the perfect spot that balances things out for both sides. A yard to either side would begin to slide the advantage to the offense, or defense, as the case may be.
Yeah but thinking about this if a team thinks they have a better offense, they could influence the decision by going a yard or three into the negative expected points. I.e., if someone really wants to play O, and the balanced pick is Yard X, maybe the team offers to spot the ball at Yard X-3.

According to this article, the ball is actually in play for only 11 minutes in the average NFL game, with the other 49 minutes consisting of a ticking clock - your suggestion would make overtime extend the actual playing length of the average game by more than 50%. So, um, no. ;)
Play a two minute period clock stops after every play. That would be super exciting to watch I think.
 

Fishercat

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Pretty sure the option on a won toss would be offense, defense, or yard line. You don't get to wait to choose which of offense or defense. Whoever wins makes a choice of the three, the other team does the unselected choice after that.
I didn't read it like that but I can see how it means that.

This would minimize greatly the impact of the coin toss; under this proposal, the coin toss would be used only to give the team that wins the toss the right to pick the spot of the ball (along with the end zone to be defended) or to choose offense or defense.

I think that might be even worse though. No team in their right mind would ever pick defense without choosing a yard line, as the other team chooses the opponent's 1 yard line. That leaves choosing the ball or choosing the yardline, which doesn't really mean a choice right? One side would either choose the ball or the other team's 1 yard line and the other team gets stuck driving from the one?

I need someone to really correct my misinterpretation here. There's only so many ways this order can go and all of it seems reductive.

The other potential is that the coin flip loser automatically chooses a yard line and the opponent chooses offense or defense after knowing it, but i imagine that'll just devolve into what others have said: teams will come up with their standard yardline of choice and it's functionally getting rid of a kick. I imagine probably like the 10-15 yard line or so. I can't see most coaches in normal conditions turning down the ball for that.

Edit: I think OT currently is fine, certainly a more fair and reasonable alternative than the past option. This seems like a lot of unnecessary maneuvering for a situation that in most scenarios will replace the kickoff with a spot. Coop's sudden death concept before with no punting is really interesting to me too.
 

Captaincoop

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I thought the current/new OT rule was a great improvement on pure sudden death and was working well.

Spot and Choose seems fine, if an unnecessary change is going to happen. I'd also be interested in a Sudden Death concept where one team chooses Offense or Defense, but with no punting allowed in OT.
 

JerBear

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I think it's called spot and choose because that is the order it will nearly always happen. There's likely the ability to defer but I think the spot will always be chosen first and possession second.
 

lexrageorge

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With kickers routinely making 45-50 yard field goals, the old rules put way too much emphasis on the coin toss. I thought the new rules were a marked improvement. If the defense gives up a TD, that's on the losing team, not the coin toss.
 

BaseballJones

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Yeah but thinking about this if a team thinks they have a better offense, they could influence the decision by going a yard or three into the negative expected points. I.e., if someone really wants to play O, and the balanced pick is Yard X, maybe the team offers to spot the ball at Yard X-3.
Yeah I could see Belichick, for example, wanting to "force" the other team's hand by choosing a spot that invites them to pick offense or defense (as the case may be), because that's the matchup BB wants. Not too much unlike playing nickel because you actually want to entice the other team to run instead of throw.
 

CSteinhardt

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There are already major ways that the current rules can be taken advantage of which coaches have missed. For example, under the onside kick rules in effect at the time the current system was put in place, a team kicking off should have tried an onside kick, since a successful recovery would count as the other team having an opportunity to possess the ball, but an unsuccessful kick is still most likely to give up a field goal, as coaches tend to play first possessions conservatively.

So, I don't think most teams would be likely to use a system like this very well.
 
Play a two minute period clock stops after every play. That would be super exciting to watch I think.
I think a) you're probably right, but b) implementing this might pull the curtain down for a number of fans and get them thinking about how little action there actually is in 60 minutes of NFL football, which is reason enough that this will never happen.

(FWIW, I wonder how much more action there is in college football, given how the clock always stops after every first down and stays stopped after every incompletion; I've seen a stat from 2014 suggesting that the average NFL game had 64 offensive plays and the average FBS college game has 72 offensive plays, but it might be an even greater disparity now. Anyway, this is a digression from the thread, so I'll stop it there.)
 

NoXInNixon

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To me, the best solution is the easiest one. If the score is tied after the end of the fourth quarter, keep playing the fourth quarter until someone scores. The team with the ball keeps the ball at the same field position, down and distance.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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(FWIW, I wonder how much more action there is in college football, given how the clock always stops after every first down and stays stopped after every incompletion; I've seen a stat from 2014 suggesting that the average NFL game had 64 offensive plays and the average FBS college game has 72 offensive plays, but it might be an even greater disparity now. Anyway, this is a digression from the thread, so I'll stop it there.)
BTW, this 538 study from 2020 suggests that there are 18 minutes of live action in a NFL game: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-much-football-is-even-in-a-football-broadcast/.

I can't find anything that has studied how much "live action" is in a NCAA game. I suspect it's not materially different than a NFL game even with the extra stoppage as the number of plays per game - which you can find here: https://www.teamrankings.com/college-football/stat/plays-per-game?date=2021-01-12 - is generally not that different from a NFL game.
 

Captaincoop

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To me, the best solution is the easiest one. If the score is tied after the end of the fourth quarter, keep playing the fourth quarter until someone scores. The team with the ball keeps the ball at the same field position, down and distance.
So, eliminate all of the urgency at the end of a game?
 

BusRaker

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If the break even spot is the 13 or 14 yard line, simply put the ball on the 15 and let the coin flip winner decide offense or defense rather than the whole "Price is Right" coaches decision. The other team picks direction. I don't really mind the current situation, free football for me! (and typically good drama)
 

Joe Sixpack

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Only if the game is tied and the team with the ball is well out of field goal range. I won't miss hail marys at the ends of games.
It creates a scenario where a team will intentionally stall at the end of regulation in a tied game so they can score in OT...not sure that would be a good thing.
 

Old Fart Tree

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Based on expected points, there's probably a yard line that is the perfect spot that balances things out for both sides. A yard to either side would begin to slide the advantage to the offense, or defense, as the case may be.
I'm guessing it's around the 15?

Edit: NM answered above, 13-14
 

Captaincoop

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Only if the game is tied and the team with the ball is well out of field goal range. I won't miss hail marys at the ends of games.
Instead of rushing down the field in a two-minute drill to try and set up a game-winning FG before the clock runs out and OT resets possession (i.e. one of the most exciting scenarios we get in football), you'd have the team taking their time and driving slowly, not worrying about the clock, knowing that a FG wins the game whether you get there in 2 minutes or whether the clock runs out and they pick up where they were and can still win with the FG. That's bad.
 
If the break even spot is the 13 or 14 yard line, simply put the ball on the 15 and let the coin flip winner decide offense or defense rather than the whole "Price is Right" coaches decision. The other team picks direction. I don't really mind the current situation, free football for me! (and typically good drama)
I'd put the ball at the 10 (or maybe even the 5) instead of the 15, because coaches are so conditioned to ask for the ball in overtime that this would lead to more of a 50-50 spread of decisions. But I could get behind this idea - certainly a lot more than a bidding scenario which sounds like it was cooked up at Football Outsiders and surely doesn't stand a chance of being accepted by the coaching fraternity, even if it were somehow accepted by the Competition Committee.
 

Captaincoop

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The flaw in the old sudden death format, IMO, is that the receiving team has a significant advantage. They get one possession without a real existential risk attached. Try three times to get a first down, and even if you completely fail to move the ball, you get to punt, and then after any kind of decent punt, they get a possession on defense where the opponent is not yet in field goal position. They get a second bite at the apple after a complete failure by their offense.

The fix is to either start the first possession deeper inside the receiving team's territory, so that a punt on 4th and 10 puts them in immediate danger, or don't allow them to punt at all, so that they HAVE to move the ball on the first possession or risk losing right away.
 

PedroKsBambino

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There are already major ways that the current rules can be taken advantage of which coaches have missed. For example, under the onside kick rules in effect at the time the current system was put in place, a team kicking off should have tried an onside kick, since a successful recovery would count as the other team having an opportunity to possess the ball, but an unsuccessful kick is still most likely to give up a field goal, as coaches tend to play first possessions conservatively.

So, I don't think most teams would be likely to use a system like this very well.
The fact Belichick didn't do this should tell you there is more to it, though....he is completely unconcerned with what anyone will say. I think the flaw in the above is that the increase in points for the team recovering where they would is too large for the small chance you recover to be worthwhile.
 

NoXInNixon

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It creates a scenario where a team will intentionally stall at the end of regulation in a tied game so they can score in OT...not sure that would be a good thing.
Teams already stall at the end of tie games to make sure they kick the go-ahead field goal with no time remaining. Seems like the same thing to me.
 

Awesome Fossum

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I really like Spot & Choose (assuming it's paired with Sudden Death). Coaches inevitably embarrassing themselves is a feature, not a bug. Can't wait to watch Dan Campbell do some game theory. I think the ball probably ends up on the 10, but there's only one way to find out.
 

Gdiguy

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I'd put the ball at the 10 (or maybe even the 5) instead of the 15, because coaches are so conditioned to ask for the ball in overtime that this would lead to more of a 50-50 spread of decisions. But I could get behind this idea - certainly a lot more than a bidding scenario which sounds like it was cooked up at Football Outsiders and surely doesn't stand a chance of being accepted by the coaching fraternity, even if it were somehow accepted by the Competition Committee.
While practically that achieves the same result, I think psychologically it 'feels' better to do the proposed way in that each team gets some sort of power to choose - so if it's effectively the same outcome but makes overtime seem more 'fair' then it's a net win
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I've advocated for something like this on this very site for the last decade! (It really is all about me.)

I have always thought there will always be a yard line at which a team should be at equipoise about whether they would rather start there or defend there in a next-score-wins game.

I would make it even more detailed, though. Visitor picks everything -- spot, down, distance. Home team decides if they want to take the ball or have the opponent play under the same conditions. First points win.

So you could pick 2d and 11 on the 45, or 3d and 2 on the 8. Whatever.

(Edit -- should add that were I the king I would only have this procedure for the playoffs. I'm fine with regular season ties.)
 

Humphrey

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It creates a scenario where a team will intentionally stall at the end of regulation in a tied game so they can score in OT...not sure that would be a good thing.
Teams do that now, get in scoring position and try to run the clock down before kicking a field goal. And teams sometimes let a team score so they are sure they'll get the ball back.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I've advocated for something like this on this very site for the last decade! (It really is all about me.)

I have always thought there will always be a yard line at which a team should be at equipoise about whether they would rather start there or defend there in a next-score-wins game.

I would make it even more detailed, though. Visitor picks everything -- spot, down, distance. Home team decides if they want to take the ball or have the opponent play under the same conditions. First points win.

So you could pick 2d and 11 on the 45, or 3d and 2 on the 8. Whatever.

(Edit -- should add that were I the king I would only have this procedure for the playoffs. I'm fine with regular season ties.)
That would really increase the value of the kicker. If I'm BAL, I choose opponents 40 yard line and 4th and 40. Don't have a kicker who can make a 57 yard FG regularly? Too bad.
 

tims4wins

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One upside of spot and choose vs placing the ball on the 10 is that you can factor in weather, including wind. In inclement weather maybe you’d offer the 25 or 30 and see if they still want the ball.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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That would really increase the value of the kicker. If I'm BAL, I choose opponents 40 yard line and 4th and 40. Don't have a kicker who can make a 57 yard FG regularly? Too bad.
Yeah, I guess a disparity in kickers makes it a problem but I suppose in that circumstance you could take the ball and punt.
 

joe dokes

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So is this "coin toss winner chooses a spot like 'offense's 20,'" then other team gets to choose offense or defense?
 

BigJimEd

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At first glance, I really don't like this idea. Add a little complexity and doesn't seem to solve a problem to me.
 

Harry Hooper

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According to this article, the ball is actually in play for only 11 minutes in the average NFL game, with the other 49 minutes consisting of a ticking clock - your suggestion would make overtime extend the actual playing length of the average game by more than 50%. So, um, no. ;)
I forgot about this thread. My suggestion is a non-starter, to say the least!

I'm leaning toward just continuing the game with the possession when the 4th quarter ends. OT is not sudden death, however, so maybe 7.5 minutes long?