Clay Matthews says NFL should 'go to college rules' after Packers don't touch ball in OT

Tom Pelissero
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GLENDALE, Ariz. — If NFL owners reconsider a rule change that would guarantee both teams a possession in overtime, perhaps the Green Bay Packers will be on board this time.

Larry Fitzgerald scored winning TD on first possession.

For the second straight year, the Packers’ season ended Saturday night with the opponent winning the coin toss and scoring a touchdown on the opening drive of overtime — this time the Arizona Cardinals, who moved on to the NFC championship game with a 26-20 victory.

"Let’s go college rules. Just put us on the 25 or whatever it is and let us go at it," Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said when asked if the rule should be reexamined. "But I don’t know. I’m sure it’ll be talked about. It sucks that we don’t have an opportunity.

"But those are the rules right now. We’ve got to play by them. We had an opportunity to stop them on their side of the field and force a punt and kick a field goal to win, and we didn’t do that."

Cardinals get wild OT win over Packers to reach NFC title game

Last year’s NFC title game ended in similar fashion, with the Seattle Seahawks winning the coin toss and driving for the winning score while Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers — who rallied the Packers with two desperation heaves late in regulation Saturday — watched from the sideline.

The NFL tweaked the rule prior to the 2012 season, moving from a strictly sudden-death format to a system in which both teams got the opportunity to possess the football unless the first team scored a touchdown. In March, owners voted down a proposal from the Chicago Bears that would’ve given both teams a possession regardless — and the Packers weren’t one of the three teams that voted for it, Bears chairman George McCaskey told the Chicago Sun-Times at the time.

"It sucks that a coin toss can determine that," Matthews said, "but if that was us on the other side of the coin, we probably wouldn’t be complaining."

Armour: Larry Fitzgerald wasn't letting this chance go to waste and came up big

Other Packers players weren’t in the mood to discuss overtime logistics after an emotional loss.

"Change the rule?" Packers veteran Julius Peppers said. "Nah, the rules are the rules, man. Play by the rules."

Said nose tackle B.J. Raji: "That’s sucker stuff, man. We lost the game. We should’ve won."

Predictably, the Arizona locker room wasn’t calling for change either.

"Nope," Cardinals defensive tackle Frostee Rucker said, grinning. "Not today."

Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero.


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