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Ravens Proposed 'Spot Choose' Overtime Rule Is Pretty Great

The Baltimore Ravens are proposing a rule to change overtime, which would make the initial decision on who starts with the ball more equitable.

The current overtime rules in the NFL are good, but the proposal from the Baltimore Ravens, which has been an organization that has a nice track record of proposing worthwhile rule changes could make it better.

Currently, overtime involves a coin toss to determine who gets the ball. If they score a touchdown or surrender a safety, the game is over. As it should be. If they kick a field goal, the other team gets the ball with a chance to tie or win. If they tie, they keep playing, but the game then becomes sudden death.

The proposed 'spot choose' rule called the would still have a coin toss, but it would give both teams agency in the initial decision. Whoever wins the coin toss gets to decide whether they want to spot the ball or choose who gets the ball.

The team spotting the ball picks where to put the ball. So, if they decide to put it on the 30, the team doing the choosing decides if they want the ball on offense at their own 30 or if they want to defend the opponent starting at the opponents own 30.

The period would be sudden death from the start, since both teams had agency in choosing who starts with the ball. There is another proposal that would take these rules but apply them to a straight period that's seven and a half minutes of straight football, but sudden death is better.

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It may end largely end up largely antiseptic where teams choose the 20 or 25-yard line to be pretty safe. However, it eliminates the kickoff, which is eventually going to be phased out anyway. There are already analytical discussions on where the break even point is.

But for a team like the Kansas City Chiefs, who have a supremely talented offense, they might happily select the 10 or even 5-yard line, because they love their offense enough to go down the field. If the opponent chooses to take the ball, then at least they have a longer field to defend and can potentially get the ball back.

The fact it's sudden death immediately should shorten overtime, which is a plus in terms of wear and tear. Even if this approach was only adopted for the start of overtime with the same scoring rules, it would be an improvement. More football decisions made by coaches in key situations is better for football, since it's another opportunity for them to make mistakes or employ smart strategy.

This proposal may be too bold for the NFL to get employed, but it should. Keep in mind, the Ravens proposed adding a badly needed sky judge to referee crews that would always be in a booth watching the game that could speed up or even nip bad calls in the bud and it was voted down.

They are proposing this again and if nothing else gets passed, the sky judge is the one the league needs the most.

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