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It’s past time for college football and NFL to figure out OT. Here are some options … let’s start the bidding – The Athletic


NFL owners approved a rule change last week that will guarantee each team gets at least one possession in overtime of playoff games. It was the second time in 12 years that the league had tweaked its overtime rules. In college football, an overtime rule change that took effect in 2021 caused a nine-overtime game between Illinois and Penn State that stopped looking like football after the second extra period.

Football is easily America’s most popular sport, but the leaders at its two highest levels can’t seem to figure out how to break a tie in a satisfying manner. When the 2022 season begins, the NFL will have different overtime rules for the regular season and playoffs. Meanwhile, college football still will convert to its version of penalty kicks after the second overtime.

Why can’t the sport agree on one way to break a tie? And why can’t it find a format that feels both fair and satisfying? The underlying reason is simple. Football is a sometimes brutal contact sport with only occasional scoring that can’t be played indefinitely. Basketball doesn’t include the same injury risk for fatigued players and features regular, near-constant scoring. So it’s reasonable to just keep playing basketball as James Naismith — and the subsequent makers of the sport’s rules — intended until an overtime period finishes with the teams showing different numbers on the scoreboard.

Baseball had a seemingly fine way of breaking ties — just keep playing baseball until an inning ends without a tie. But Major League Baseball tweaked the rules last year to place a runner on second base in extra innings. Despite fans’ hatred of the rule, it will be back for 2022 as the league tries to squeeze a 162-game schedule into a lockout-shortened window.

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