The Football Rules Committee continues to seek ways to speed play during regulation, but when it comes to overtime, the clock is stopped.
Several rules announced last week were the latest attempts to reduce the length of games, but overtime remained untouched. That would appear to be an oversight, especially after examining the list of the 10 longest games of 2007. The top eight went into overtime.
As overtime rules stand, each team gets a possession starting on the opponent's 25-yard line, putting the ball well within range of kickers in this day and age. There is a play clock but no game clock. Beginning with the third overtime, teams are mandated to attempt a two-point conversion after a touchdown. These rules have resulted in an ultra-conservative approach by coaches and multiple overtime games.
Here's what can be done:
Overtime possessions begin on the opponent's 40-yard line. No more rewards for teams that fail to advance the ball. As it stands, teams can send out the kicker and likely get a field goal even without advancing past the 25. Putting the ball at the 40 would reward teams that are able to advance into field goal range.
Teams will have two minutes to score. Having two minutes to score from the 40 is more than fair and would add to the urgency of overtime. Besides, if you have a game clock for four quarters, why do you not have it during overtime?
After a touchdown, a team must attempt a two-point conversion. Extra points are successful 95% of the time. The success rate on two-point conversions is 45%. This would lessen the chances of multiple overtimes.